ODU’s oldest living graduate dies at 105


Linwood “Tick” Thumm, 105, died on April 15, 2020. He graduated from Old Dominion University in 1936. (Photo courtesy of ODU)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University’s oldest living graduate has died at age 105.

Linwood “Tick” Thumm died on April 15 of natural causes.

He had a long life in Norfolk, and graduated from ODU in 1936 — when the university was known as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary.

Thumm said in a 2015 interview with ODU that he remembered sitting on the brick wall outside of the administration building singing with members of the quartet he was part of.

“We had a wonderful show we put on every year – the High Hat Review – and we came up with a surprising amount of talent in the student body,” he said.

After graduation, Thumm worked for the Bemis bag company as a sales man before enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. He went on to become the founder of an air conditioning and heating business called Virginia Heating, and eventually became vice president of A1 Sheet Metal, according to an ODU article.

Thumm retired in 1979 — but he couldn’t stay still long. He continued to work as a ranger at the entrance of First Landing State Park for more than 10 years.

“He loved talking to people and giving them directions,” his daughter Betsy Townsend said.

Thumm married his wife, Jane, in 1948. The couple lived in Norfolk until her 2017 death. Thumm enjoyed playing cards, grilling steaks and going to parties. He also swam regularly until a few years before his death, according to an ODU article.

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