Thomas Darmo, Jr
Thomas Darmo, Jr., age 85 of Moorestown, died peacefully at The University of Pennsylvania Hospital on Saturday, January 9 after a brief illness. Tom was born July 25, 1936 and was a lifelong resident of Moorestown. A produce farmer for most of his life, Tom was well known and loved in the area.
At Moorestown High School, Tom lettered in football playing defense, and was selected and honored as part of first team All County football. He was active in his local Future Farmers of America chapter and worked on his family’s produce farm. The kids at school called him “The Flying Farmer” because of how he tore around on his 1942 Knucklehead Harley-Davidson. After graduating high school in 1954, Tom enlisted in the Air Force, and greatly enjoyed the amazing experience of his deployment to Japan. After serving, Tom attended a technical college in Philadelphia to learn drafting, where he also met his future wife, Ludmila. After graduation, Tom received a job as a tool maker at Yale and Towne in Philadelphia, where he worked for over 10 years.
In the early 1970’s Tom returned to his farming roots, with the help of his parents, Tom, Sr. and Pearl Darmo. He became the third generation Darmo to farm the family land in Moorestown. While starting out with minimal equipment, Tom expanded and modernized, becoming one of the first farmers in the state to embrace drip irrigation, plastic mulch, and plastic covered/air-insulated greenhouses. He was an innovator, introducing varieties of produce that, at that time, were considered novel and exotic, including Crenshaw melons, burpless cucumbers, and seedless watermelons. Tom enjoyed being an expert farmer (producing legendary Jersey tomatoes), doing what he loved best, and being his own boss. Like his parents, Tom was self-sufficient, and could build or repair just about anything. During the “slow time” in winter, he enjoyed buying, repairing and selling collectible tractors, farm equipment and cars he obtained at farm auctions and estate sales.
Tom taught sons Tony and Tom III the art and science of farming, how to work on all types of motor vehicles and equipment, as well as how to hunt and trap in the nearby woods and fields. He strongly influenced all four of his children, teaching them the value of hard work and perseverance, independence, and a love of nature. Sons Tony and Tom III followed closely in his footsteps. Tom III is a master mechanic, managing a heavy equipment shop. Tom III also beautifully and extensively renovated Tom’s home place; having a Darmo continue to live there made Tom very happy. Tony continues the family tradition as a fourth generation, full time farmer on the Darmo Farm where he worked with his dad for many years; he has been key to helping Tom remain independent and engaged with life. Daughters Vera and Lisa attended college and graduate school and are successful in their respective fields.
Tom loved his life. He was generous and kind, pretty blunt, loved to laugh, was fiercely independent, and would give you the shirt off his back. Tom adored each of his dogs like family. He sorely missed his last best friend, Pouncer, the huge 150 lb yellow lab he took everywhere with him. Donations in Tom’s memory, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Burlington County Animal Alliance, https://bcaaofnj.org/donate/ or to any other animal rescue or shelter of your choice.
Tom is survived by his children Lisa (Bill), Vera (Zhang Fu), Tom III (Michelle) and Tony (Joann); grandchildren TJ, Joey, Ashlyn, Nick, Christina, Sasha, Ally, Morgan, Julia, Kati, and Karyn; great granddaughter Mila; sister Betty and brother Ralph (Susan); nieces and nephews Mark, Marty, Ralph Jr., Jeff, and Amanda, as well as numerous cousins and other extended family. He was predeceased in death by Ludmila, his loving wife of 53 years.
A memorial service to celebrate Tom’s full life will be held Saturday, January 15, 2022, 12-2 pm at Sweeney Funeral Home, 337 Bridgeboro St, Riverside, NJ 08075.
Masking at the service is encouraged, as there may be at-risk elderly or otherwise vulnerable people attending. A limited number of masks will be provided at the door.