THOMAS JOHN CAVANAUGH,formerly of Falls Church, Virginia, died on October 3, 2012 from cancer while residing in Tampa, Florida. He was 87.
Tom Cavanaugh was born on June 21,1925 in Glendive, Montana, the second son of
Dominick J. Cavanaugh and Virginia Schumacher. He moved to Falls Church in 1961,
when he was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to be the Associate Solicitor of
Public Lands & Mining at the Department of the Interior. He remained in that post
until 1968, at which time he became counsel to the U.S. Public Land Law Review
Commission. Thereafter, Mr. Cavanaugh served for several years as Washington
Counsel to the American Cattlemen's Association before concluding his career on
Capitol Hill as counsel to a number of committees and subcommittees of the U.S.
House of Representatives. He retired in 1985.
Mr. Cavanaugh was a graduate of St. John's College in Minnesota and the University
of Montana School of Law (class of 1949). He attended law school after having
served for two years as a medic in the U.S.Army during World War II. He returned
to Montana and finished law school in just two years before he engaged in the
private practice of law with his Uncle, Desmond O'Neil. He and his Uncle, as well as
his beloved Aunt Esther, were active in Democratic state politics, culminating in Mr.
Cavanaugh's appointment to be a delegate for Montana to the 1960 Democratic
Convention held in Los Angeles, CA.
Mr. Cavanaugh married Jeannine Marie Kiser of Aberdeen, South Dakota on October
16, 1952. The couple was married for nearly 48 years, until Jeannine's death in May
of 2000. They had four sons, two sets of twin boys: Thomas J. Cavanaugh and Sean
J. Cavanaugh, and Kevin D. Cavanaugh and Patrick O. Cavanaugh. Mr. Cavanaugh
was a parishioner of St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church and active in a
number of civic and other organizations, including the Elks Club, Knights of
Columbus, and Falls Church Little League (President). He was also a long-time
member of International Country Club in Fairfax, VA. After his wife passed away,
Mr. Cavanaugh relocated to Tampa.
Mr. Cavanaugh predeceases his older brother Daniel, a resident of Stevensville,
Montana, a cousin, Betty Jo Ravitz of San Pedro, California, and his four sons, their
spouses and his grandchildren: Thomas (Carol) of Charlotte, NC (Carcy, Callie and
Carter Cavanaugh); Sean (Judith) of Tampa, FL (Kimberly and Matthew Cavanaugh),
Kevin (Donna Durham) of Keller, TX (Samantha, Ross and Kerri Cavanaugh), and
Patrick (Alison LeMaster) of Tallahassee, FL and Arlington, VA (Jordan, Devon,
Garrett and Cameron Cavanaugh). Additional surviving family members include
Colleen Cavanaugh of Sarasota, FL, Gail Cavanaugh of Stevensville, MT, Michael A.
(Rosemary) Duch of Aberdeen, SD, William J. Kiser III of Huron, SD, and Lisa A. Kiser Shoemaker of Rapid City, SD.
Mr. Cavanaugh was an avid golfer, who also enjoyed reading a good book,
particularly of historical events or figures, as well as discussing current events and
politics with family and friends. He had an active mind and a keen wit, and he took
great pride in his sons and his grandchildren and always considered himself a
"westerner." May God bless Tom as he reunites with the only love of his life,
A memorial service for Mr. Cavanaugh will be held in Northern Virginia this fall, the
details of which will be sent by his sons to family and friends, and also posted on the
website of Murphy's Funeral Home. Interment will be at the King David Memorial
Park in Falls Church. The family expresses sincere gratitude to the many physicians
and other healthcare and hospice providers who cared for Mr. Cavanaugh in recent
months. Memorial contributions in Tom Cavanaugh's honor may be made to the
Melech Hospice House in Temple Terrace, Tampa, FL or the American Cancer