Thomas Grover Cline

Thomas Grover Cline, 79, of Hampton, VA, went home to his Lord and Savior on August 3, 2023, surrounded by loved ones.

Tom was born to Emerson and Jean (Purcell) Cline on January 13, 1944, in Columbus, OH. He grew up with his parents, younger sister, Susan, and numerous extended family in Ashville, OH. After graduating from Ashville High School, Tom earned a BS in Education from Ohio State University and a MEd from The College of William and Mary. He served in the US Air Force for 27 years of active and reserve duty in Thailand, Germany, and Kuwait, as Commander of the 71st Aerial Port Squadron at Langley Air Force Base and as the Air Force Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for Virginia. Tom began teaching at Huntington Middle School in 1971. He taught and served as an administrator in Newport News Public Schools for 36 years, earning the Virginia Technology Education Association’s Teacher of the Year award in 1987 and dedicating his life to thousands of young people.

Tom met the love of his life and dedicated wife of 55 years, Linda Polick, on a blind date in 1967. They married in April 1968 and went on to have four children: Lori, Wesley, Timothy, and Tammy. He was a man of strong faith and modeled the importance of family, hard work, and doing what was right.

In addition to being a dedicated and loving father, Tom loved reading, working with his hands, ham radio, golf, growing vegetables, especially Carolina Reapers, and learning about military history. He was an Eagle Scout and enjoyed working as a Scout leader for many years. Tom was also active in the community working with the Red Cross and as Chairman of the Virginia Educators’ Credit Union board.

Throughout his entire life, Tom held an unwavering faith in God, which he shared with all those who surrounded him. He was an active and devoted member of Temple Baptist Church, serving in many capacities over his 55-year membership. He had a passion for ministry and a servant’s heart. Tom left a lasting legacy of giving and kindness through his work with the homeless, rebuilding homes in Nickelsville, VA, mission trips to South Dakota and Africa, and disaster relief work throughout the United States and internationally.

Thomas joins his father, Emerson, his mother, Jean, and his son, Wesley, in Heaven. He is survived by his loving wife, Linda; children, Lori (Hobert), Timothy (Sonja), Tammy (Scott); eleven grandchildren; Jeffrey (Emily), Anna Sophia, Katie, Adrianna, Albert, Julia, Emma, Cecelia, Dominik, Christopher, and Linnea; his sister Susan (David); and numerous nieces, nephews, family and dear friends. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

A visitation will be held on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Temple Baptist Church. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9, 2023, at Temple Baptist Church. Interment will follow at Parklawn Memorial Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the J. Walter Martin Mission Fund at Temple Baptist Church, Red Cross, LINK of Hampton Roads, St. Jude, or the SPCA.

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23


  1. Alice Rich

    so sad for this loss. Tom was a man of many ministries. He loved his work for the Lord and for people he will be missed by so many especially Temple Baptist Church. we know he is with the Lord receiving his many rewards for his earthly path.

  2. Linda Plante

    Tom was a man admired by all of us at Temple Baptist Church … he certainly wasn’t one to sit down for long … his heart of ministry (in many, many different areas) was strong and the name “Tom Cline” was known by everyone at Temple. Though his illness kept him from us for awhile, his presence will always be felt at Temple. Tom and Linda personified what true marriage is all about — an example to follow for all of us. Though gone … but never forgotten!

  3. Aaron Brindle

    My uncle Tommy, as mom called him, was one of the most encouraging people I ever knew. Just being around him made me want to be a better person. So thankful to know I’ll see him again!

  4. Jackie R Chambliss

    I first met Tom when I joined Temple Baptist Church. He was one of the first, if not the first, persons who welcomed me to the church family and to recruit me for all of the ministries that he served. He quickly became my best friend and older brother. I also learned two things about Tom: 1. He very rarely said “No” and you rarely said “No” to him. 2. Wherever we went together in our travels, someone knew him. I jokingly would say to him, “Tom, if you and I were to go to Mars, there would probably be someone there who knows you. Also, what a talker.🙂

    Tom, the many tears that I have shed, the heartbreak that I have, the grief that I have, and the joy that I have for you being in my life, pales in comparison to the honor, respect, and love that I will always have for you. I love you Tom, Linda, and the entire Cline family. You all are God’s blessings to me and my family.

    P.S. My next U-Turn while driving will be in honor and memory of Tom Cline.

  5. Sharon

    God must surely be smiling having admitted Tom to heaven with Him. We will miss you Tom, but we know that you are with our Master. Rest well in His love. Continued prayers for Linda, Lori, and the entire Cline family.🙏💕.

  6. Larry Eavey

    Tom was a true servant leader. I worked ‘for’ him on many disaster relief trips and several of us referred to him as ‘daddy’ since he had that ability to make you feel you were working with him not for him and inspired everyone with his work ethic, kindness and compassion! I was privileged to call him friend and take comfort in knowing he is with his Lord and Savior!

  7. Melissa Thatch

    Linda and family, may our Lord give you peace and comfort in the days ahead. God bless you snd wrsp you in His love.

  8. Kitty Heffington

    What a loss for all of us. Tom was one of the best men I have ever known. His passion was taking care of others. Linda, my heart goes out to you especially. All of you have my deepest sympathy and love.

  9. Keith Blythe

    I met Tom through Va Baptist Disaster Relief and served with him on several of those deployments. Tom always put his name down on the calendar to lead on “first call” assignment during the peak of hurricane season. Those who served with him know that meant he was anxious to be the first to respond when a disaster struck. The “coconut telegraph” would get busy and Tom would call- Can you go? Yes! Then chaos, confusion, and finally a well organized response would emerge. Tom mentored, inspired, encouraged, led new recruits, made hundreds of decisions, and tended to the needs of us who were stunned by the scope of a disaster we were unprepared to see. I was fortunate to be one of those he took under wing and led. Thanks be to God for placing him in our path! He taught us and loved us like a “Daddy” should!

  10. Laurie Halperin

    Tom Cline was “the” example of how to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are all so much better for having known him and I am so sad to know that he is gone from this life – but also rejoicing that he is now with God, who he loved and served so selflessly. My love and prayers go out to you all, Linda, Lori, and the rest of the family. I’m so sorry for this huge loss and will be praying for you all as you navigate through the days ahead without him.

  11. Ann Northness

    Tommy Cline was the patriarch of the Cline Clan. I always refer to him as our Abraham. We are sad to lose him but know he is still watching over us all. Our prayers and thoughts are with Linda and his beloved family.

  12. Michael Mourning

    Going on a disaster relief call out, even for a training session, with Tom was always an adventure and follow up memories are satisfying. Tom’s focus was always mission and evangelism. We never left the parking lot without a time of prayer and a reminder of our objective to be servants in the name of Christ.

    Tom, we will miss you as an example and as a friend. Mike and Martha Mourning

  13. Guy Cline

    Tommy is my cousin and I will share a few memories with you. Tommy was several years older than me and when I was very young, Emerson told Tommy to take me and an ancient, well used and well dented bike to a nearby baseball diamond and push me as fast and long as he could until I learned how to keep my balance and avoid crashing. It took many crashes but I did learn. Perhaps that was the start of his teaching career.

    Tommy, like his father, was involved in scouting as a scout and scout leader. I remember there was a small trailer next to their house packed with surplus radio equipment. I think they used the radios to pass messages from soldiers to their families.

    We used to get up early Saturday mornings, don our scout uniforms and pile into Emerson’s car and drive into Columbus, Ohio to the Ohio State University football stadium where we would serve as ushers and watch the Buckeyes play, and mostly win. Tommy later graduated from OSU, as I did and our Grandfather, Grover Cline. I had forgotten until now, but Tommy and I share his name as our middle name.

    Tommy’s first car was a very small convertible sports car called the Triumph Spitfire. I never understood how Tommy could fit in that small car, but he did. I think it was good that it was a convertible because I don’t think that car was designed to fit someone that tall. I spent many hours playing pool with Tommy and Susan in their basement and baseball on the diamond across from their house. Ashville, Ohio is a small village (pop. 2000) in the cornfields south of Columbus. It was a great place and time for us to grow up.

    Tommy served in the Air Force as did his father. I think Emerson was a sergeant during WW2. Tommy was commissioned out of ROTC at OSU and rose to the rank of full Colonel, no small feat. Throughout his life Tommy served others.

    I hope these remembrances contribute to the celebration of Tommy’s life, a life well lived. Later in life we all think about the legacy that we leave behind. Tommy has certainly touched many lives for the better, including mine, and will be missed. My heartfelt condolences to Linda, Susan and all of his children and grandchildren.

  14. Diane Roberts Barnes

    Tom Cline was truly a servant of God. He always had a smile on his face and would ask about family. I know he was greeted in heaven by the many saints from Temple Baptist Church. My prayers go out to Linda and the family during this difficult time.

  15. Ricky Brandt

    I’m so sorry for your families loss. I was in Mr. Clines shop class at Huntington Intermediate in 1980 or so and he was always very helpful and kind.

  16. Kenneth Johnson

    Tom and I served together at the 71 APS at Langley and later during Desert Storm at Dover AFB. He was a fellow unit commander later as I was commander of a unit in Pennsylvania. I was saddened to learn in late 2023 of his death in August 2023. My sympathies to Linda and his family.

    Kenneth P. Johnson, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)

  17. Taylor Miller

    I’m sad to hear that I missed this news. My condolences to your family. Tom Cline was one of the best Scout Masters I ever had. He kept our small little troop going even though I was one of the last scouts and I am very thankful for him. Tom was one of the nicest men I ever knew. I ran into Tom at the gas station near my house a couple of years ago and he instantly recognized me and gave me a big hug after I have not seen him for many years. I will truly miss him and my thoughts and prayers are still with you. God bless.

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