Thomas E. Cullen, 86, of Orchard Park, NY, passed away Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at Fr. Baker Manor in Orchard Park, NY of Covid-19. Born December 5, 1933 in Buffalo, he was the eldest child of the late Grace M. Petersen and L. Edgar Cullen. Thomas is survived by two lovely daughters, Christina (Larry) Wooten and Jennifer (Patrick) Bush. Thomas loved all his grandchildren and was the very proud Grandfather of Matthew (Kathryn) Cullen, Jacob and Lucas Wooten, Cullen and Mackenzie Bush and Great Grandfather to Fredriek and Barrett Cullen. Surviving are his sister Barbara (late Alfred) Rauh, brother Patrick (Joan) Cullen, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Thomas married the former Carol Kosloff in 1959 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She predeceased him in 2015. They had 56 years together of children, family, friends, traveling, reading, hiking, skiing, cooking, gardening, swimming and many shared interests and hobbies.
Tom’s family moved from Buffalo to Cattaraugus, NY in 1940 where Tom attended Cattaraugus Central School. He graduated from CCS in 1951 where he was noted for his height and excellence on the basketball court. He attended St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY graduating in 1955 with a B.S. in Chemistry with minors in religion, philosophy, mathematics and where he was on the tennis team.
Tom’s career path reflected his brilliance. He was indeed a rocket scientist working for Olin-Matheson Corporation receiving a deferment from the draft from President Dwight D. Eisenhower for his critical work in rocket propellant research for satellites and defense. He then worked for FMC, Niagara Chemical, in Middleport NY, and Princeton, New Jersey in pesticide research. Thomas was hired by CIBA-Geigy, in Ardsley, NY, in pesticides; Thomas continued his career in chemistry when employed as Vice President of Crompton & Knowles Corporation, a dye company, in Reading, Pa. In 1982, Thomas and his family returned to his hometown of Cattaraugus, NY to assume the position of Vice President and Director of Bank of Cattaraugus, a position he held until his retirement in 1996. Tom and Carol relocated to Orchard Park, NY in 2003 to be near their daughter and family.
Throughout his life, Thomas was a rare book enthusiast and became a noted dealer in the field. He specialized in early illustrated books, autographs and manuscripts. Many consulted his expertise in this field. He was a proud member of Ephemera Society of America. He published numerous catalogs detailing his rare books and ephemera for sale. His membership in the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America brought him international recognition as the Rockland Bookman.
Tom’s intelligence, sense of humor, kindness, humility, and loyalty were the reasons everyone loved him. To Tom the most important things in the world were family, faith and love. Tom was a man of strong faith and a life member of the Roman Catholic Church. Due to restrictions at this time, a funeral mass and memorial service will be planned at a later date to celebrate Tom’s life.
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