Thomas DeWitt Read ’38 died on March 7, 2009, at Solomons Nursing Center in Solomons, Maryland.
He was born on March 17, 1916, in Newark, N.J., and prepared for Bowdoin at Montclair (N.J.) High School and Nichols Junior College. He attended Bowdoin from 1935 to 1938 as a member of Zeta Psi fraternity, and served four years in the Army Air Corps during World War II, attaining the rank of first lieutenant. Known for his gregarious personality, he was a successful career salesman, with positions at Campbell’s Soup Co., Acme Supermarkets, Krueger Brewing Co., and with the New Jersey Board of Realtors. His passion was collecting antique American ephemera. At one point, he had more than 100,000 pieces of sheet music and thousands of early American newspapers from across the country, in addition to player piano rolls and 78-rpm records. Well into his 80s, he was still performing, doing musical shows on the piano for AARP, weddings and parties. He is survived by two daughters, Nancy McCabe and Karen Edwards; a son, Peter Read; five grandchildren; and a brother, John A. Read. He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Irene Demarest Read, in 1996.