Thomas Fredric Gorland, known affectionately as "Tom" to his loved ones and friends, passed away in Dothan, Alabama, on September 3, 2023, after a courageous battle with cancer. Born in Miami, Florida on October 8, 1946, Tom was a beacon of joy, selflessness, and faith throughout his 76 years of life.
Tom was a loving and devoted husband to his wife, Virginia Darline Gorland, for 51 wonderful years. He was a beloved father to their four children, Michael (KK) Gorland, Kimberly Gorland, Michelle (Phillip) Kirkland, and Jennifer (Josh) McDonald. His love extended to his seven grandchildren, Tucker and Tanner Kirkland, Anslee, Whitley, and Hudson McDonald, Declan and Shepherd Gorland, who he cherished dearly. He is also survived by his brother Ron (Trish) Gorland, sisters Irene Heckert and Barbie (Norman) Andresen, sister-in-law Belinda (Bill) Benak, brother-in-law Joe Randy (Vickie) Green, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family members.
Tom received his Bachelor's Degree in History from Florida State University. His professional journey led him to be an Air Traffic Controller, but his true passion was found in serving others, particularly those in need. In 1986, Tom made Dothan his home and became one of the founding members of The Wiregrass Children's Home, dedicating over 33 years of his life to the cause. He received the Presidential Award in 2021 for his tireless service to the home.
Tom was a man of many interests, but his family was always at the heart of everything he did. He was a funny guy, always ready to lighten the mood with a joke, and he never met a stranger. His love for his children and grandchildren was immeasurable. Tom was a faithful member of Christ Church International, often being the first to arrive and the last to leave. His commitment to his faith was as steadfast as his commitment to his family.
A celebration of Tom's life will be held at 2 pm on Thursday, September 7, 2023, at Sunset Funeral Home Chapel, with Rev. David Delvecchio and Rev. Travis Free officiating. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 1-2 pm. Flowers are being accepted or memorial contributions may be made in Tom's honor to The Wiregrass Children's Home, wiregrasschildrenshome.org/donate.
Tom's life was guided by a quote from Mother Teresa: "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Tom lived this quote, showing great love in all he did, from his dedication to serving those in need to the love he showed his family. His legacy of selflessness, love, and faith will live on in the hearts of all those he touched.
As we remember Thomas Fredric Gorland, we celebrate a man of great character, a loving family man, a dedicated servant to his community, and a faithful follower of Christ. His life was a testament to the power of love, faith, and service. He will be deeply missed, but his spirit will continue to inspire all those who were fortunate enough to know him.