Thomas Ruford “Tom Boy” Baum

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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January 29, 1942 – June 17, 2024

Wanchese, NC – Thomas Ruford “Tom Boy” Baum was born January 29, 1942, to the late Somers C. Baum and Thelma V. Daniels Baum in Wanchese, NC. He died June 17, 2024, at his home after an extended battle with cancer.

In addition to his parents, Tom Boy was preceded in death by his wife, Martha Bonner “Mickey” Baum; his brother, Richard Baum Sr.; brother-in-law, Michael Perry; and daughter-in-law, Kellie Baum.

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He is survived by his son, Shane Baum; daughter, Amy Baum Garretson; three grandchildren, Megan Garretson, Hunter Williams, and Emma Garretson; three great-grandchildren, Isabella, Kaiden, and Hadley; two brothers, Walter Baum (Lottie) and Allen Baum (Dee-Ann); sister, Lisa Baum Perry; sister-in-law, Anna Baum; great-aunt, Reba Daniels Conrad; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Tom Boy was raised in Wanchese in a family of commercial fishermen. He attended Wanchese School and graduated with honors from Manteo High School. He was named “Mr. Manteo High School” and Salutatorian in 1960.

He developed a lifetime love of baseball and the LA Dodgers. He coached the Wanchese pony league team, “Kelloggs,” for many years and was active in the Dare County Parks and Recreation softball leagues until his first bout with cancer in his fifties.

Thomas served honorably in the United States Coast Guard for four years. He spent most of his life working as a commercial fisherman. Some of his other jobs included working as a guide for Mac’s Fishing Center, managing Quality Seafood, and driving for “The Pick-Up Man.”

Tom Boy was well known for his singing voice. In the early years, he was part of the local country music band, “The Mariners,” comprised of local watermen and their families.

In January 1989, Tom Boy accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. He was very active at Bethany Church of Wanchese, singing in the choir and the worship team and serving on several committees. He joined others to form the group “Undivided,” singing all across Eastern North Carolina.

He volunteered with the Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Department for over 25 years, serving as both Chief and Assistant Chief. US Senator Melvin Daniels appointed him to the Wanchese Community Building Board of Trustees, and he served as it’s chairman for decades. Senator Daniels also appointed him to one term on the NC Marine Fisheries Commission’s Advisory Committee.

He spent a lifetime serving his community, but ultimately, he will be remembered best as a leader with a beautiful singing voice. The last song he ever recorded was released in January 2023, and “The Master of the Sea” quickly rose the southern gospel billboard charts to number one.

A quote by John Maxwell sums up his philosophy, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

A celebration of Tom Boy’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 21, 2024, at Bethany Church of Wanchese. A reception will be held in the church’s fellowship hall after the service. Private burial will take place in Cudworth Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the music program at Bethany Church of Wanchese in memory of Thomas R. Baum.

Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories may be shared at