Thomas W. Vahey, 79, petroleum blender

Thomas W. Vahey, 79, of Sea Isle City, N.J., who retired in 1999 as a petroleum blender at the Arco refinery in South Philadelphia, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease Friday, Feb. 27, at a relative's home in Havertown.

Born in West Philadelphia, Mr. Vahey graduated from St. Thomas More Catholic Boys High School in 1953.

Thomas W. Vahey

Mr. Vahey worked in a produce warehouse before joining Arco in the late 1960s, daughter Charlene Dempsey said.

Though Mr. Vahey had not played high school football, Dempsey said, he was a quarterback in the semiprofessional Triangle League from the 1950s into the 1960s, when he was in his mid-30s.

"They basically played whenever they could," she said, mostly on Saturday mornings.

"He was just an incredible athlete," she said, and while the family lived in Sharon Hill, Mr. Vahey also played in a men's softball league in Delaware County.

Mr. Vahey was a longtime member of the St. Thomas More Alumni Association, his daughter said, and "he would go every year" to its reunions.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Vahey is survived by wife Carol; daughters Donna Becker, Jacqueline Roccio, and Carolyn McCloskey; and 12 grandchildren.

A viewing was set from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Thursday, March 5, at Sacred Heart Church, Manoa and Shelburne Roads, Havertown, before an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass there, with interment later.

Donations may be sent to the St. Thomas More Alumni Association, Box 294, Drexel Hill, Pa. 19026.

Condolences may be offered to the family at

610-313-8134 @WNaedele