Tom In His Own Words

Just an ordinary guy who respects and enjoys the extraordinary things life presents us with every single day.

Lucky enough to proudly represent DoubleTree by Hilton hotels and resorts in more than 285 locations in 23 countries around the world.

Just a simple guy who grew up in the San Fernando Valley burbs of Los Angeles. Today, I return to this place I call home regularly to share free time with a great mom & dad and a beautiful ten-year-old niece. I'm also privileged to learn from many wonderful friends here and around the world in this amazing career of promoting the power of travel and hospitality with DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels and Hilton Worldwide.

 
 

About Tom From Hilton Worldwide

Tom just celebrated his 25-year anniversary with Hilton Worldwide, which began in corporate procurement for food & beverage and hotel renovations. In 1994, he joined the marketing communications and public relations teams, serving five brands prior to joining DoubleTree including Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Conrad, Red Lion and Harrison Conference Centers.  Tom was the epitome of the DoubleTree CARE culture, which he helped spearhead with the launch of the award-winning Teaching Kids to Care corporate responsibility program.

While most knew Tom as the director of global public relations for DoubleTree, a position he has held for the past 13 years, many also knew him as caretaker for his parents and guardian for his niece Veronica, whom he loved dearly.  Weekly, he flew from Los Angeles, where he resided near his family, to our headquarters in McLean – a travel schedule befitting of Tom’s can-do spirit.  Barbara DeLollis of USA Today said it best in her recent blog posting: “This could very well be the hardest workin’ man in hotel PR.”

Tom was a true professional and delightful to be around.  His passion, positive energy and warm heartedness will forever resonate within Hilton Worldwide.  He will be dearly missed by many, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family.


Our Tom

Penny and I were blessed with two of the most wonderful children ever. Just so special. Penny and I were married in 1966. Two years of military service interrupted our plans for a family. Early 1969, California endured record rains. Record floods. National Geographic had an article on how it it rained daily for literally forty days and forty nights. We're talking downpours here.

Saturday 26 April 1969 dawned sunny and bright. Shortly after , at 11:45, in St John's Hospital, Santa Monica California, our Tom came into this world. Penny just now reminded me she was “close by”.

Next five years, we lived in a Santa Monica apartment. Tom's aunt and uncle, Tom and Betty Ann Dunlap lived upstairs. These were very happy times. Tom commenced to reading small passages at a very early age.

By now, he was reading various things aloud and to himself. Penny had to take cereal boxes off the table so he'd eat rather than read. He started to learn printing. Penny enrolled him in Montessori School where his reading skills were decidedly enriched. He also gained more than a passing acquaintance with Thomas Bros Map Books, the benchmark of the California traveller prior to GPS and such. He LOVED maps.

Sister Victoria was born in 1973. In 1974 we moved to North Hollywood. Soon he went to Saticoy Elementary School. The trucking business did not lend itself to a normal life style. To compensate, cat Geoffrey, dog Gingie were great childhood companions. Tom and Vickie had friends throughout the neighbourhood as well as those at school. Penny raised them pretty well single handed until 1980. Byrd Junior High and ultimately to Francis Polytechnic High School rounded out his public school education.

Folks told us Tom had a higher than normal IQ. Living with him, no one had to tell us he was special. We knew.

In mid 1980s, Tom was diagnosed with a condition known as Psoriatic Arthritis. Doctors told him he was wheelchair-bound in a few years. Not hardly. The way he lived his life exemplifies his ability to occasionally suffer and endure, but ultimately conquer this debilitating disease. In the meantime, Tom put forth a 120 percent effort in most everything he did. And we mean EVERYTHING.  According to others, this is a fact of life.

He began his public relations and business career running Phi Beta Lambda Fraternity. He received his Associate and Bachelor degrees from Woodbury University. As everyone does after graduation, one soon learns what they DON”T want to do for the rest of their lives. Absolutely no trucking. Menial jobs suck. They're not careers. They're an existence.

Everyone was thrilled with his new found position at Hilton Hotels Corporate Headquarters. Coincidentally, Hilton HQ was just around the corner from a moving company where his grandfather was an artisan. Tom's Uncle Tom,    Penny and I worked at this Allied Van Lines Agent at various times. Beverly Hills was like a proving ground for all of us. Penny and I were married in Beverly Hills. Now there's a proving ground.

We all know the rest of the story. Messrs Merriam and Webster define consummate as extremely skilled and accomplished. Tom is everyone's consummate professional. More than that, Tom is our son. Tom is Victoria's brother. Uncle Tom is niece Veronica's “Uncle Tommy”. As the Navajo say, The Blessing Way.


Articles About Tom

You'll Be Missed, Tom
Lodging Magazine
We Will Miss You: Tom Wingham
Travel News Gazette


Tom Quotes

"Thank goodness. We made it."

“A terrific day in Guanacaste, Costa Rica today included a hike in Rincon de la Vieja National Park, an amazing ziplining tour with Veronica and a thunderstorm at the beach that turned into an amazing sunset. Pura Vida in Costa Rica. Looking forward to more fun adventures manana.”

“Did I play? yes. Did I win? no. Do I care? not really. Am I OK with it? Just fine, thank you. Off to awesome margaritas that are more than worth their wait in gold...and everyone's losing tickets.”  ;-)

"So very nice to be home again...for a few quick days again...before I'm on a plane again...to somewhere great!"

“I always told my little Veronica that I'd show her the world some day in person. An opportunity came up and I was able to tell her that we're heading together to Costa Rica next week for her Spring Break. To say I'm thrilled to show her this beautiful place is an understatement. A great adventure starts next Tuesday!”

"Time to take care of me...for just one hour...for a change..."

"The most awesomely ridiculous and awesome karaoke bar in the world. Did I say awesome?!"

"So nice to get my nails done. And on one of the wildest massage chairs ever. Massaging my back, neck and butt in some crazy ways. Yay!"

"Two sets of four words - Europe's Largest Department Store. God help me now!" Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe)

“A fun L.A. moment today. Veronica and I gave up our swings for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Having fun with some smaller kids in their group. Veronica kept her L.A. cool. I just kept screaming for Justin. Yeah, right?”   ;-)

“So working late in my Northern Virginia office tonight, the two fortune cookies in my Chinese takeout dinner said

"Working hard will make you live a happy life" and "A pleasant surprise is waiting for you." Let's hope that BOTH of these fortunes are real, because I'm certainly working hard. Happy Thursday night all.”

“Kendra Walker - Thanks for your surprise text today remembering my 22nd anniversary with Hilton Worldwide. I started with the company in F&B programs and national purchasing in 1990, but my real career in public relations began when Kendra brought me on to her team in 1994. Thanks Kendra, and so many of my other FB friends, who have helped me create and share stories about the amazing world of hospitality and travel... today my journey continues with a great DoubleTree by Hilton brand. I'm so very humbled and proud.”

“Any person in L.A. Who complains about the current heat wave should be deported immediately to Butte, Montana wearing nothing but a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. No exceptions. 89F and sensational sunny skies today in Tarzana. Best weather on the planet!”