Tom Throgmorton, 95, dies

Columbus, OH — Thomas Jefferson Throgmorton, age 95, of Marion, Ill., died at his home at 9:07 a.m. on Wednesday (May 22) with his loving family at his side.

Mr. Throgmorton was a proud Army Air Corp Veteran during World War II piloting P-47 Thunderbolts. Following his service, he attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where he received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry. It was at SIU where Tom met the love of his life, Julia Catherine Schmitt. The two were married on July 9, 1949. She preceded him in death on Sept. 5, 2016.

Mr. Throgmorton became the co-founder of Central Technology Incorporated of Herrin as a chemical engineer. Here he worked on the SR-71 Blackbird Program, as well as the Gemini Program, which was instrumental in the space race. He also designed and developed the original net trap cannons, the purpose of which is to launch nets over wildlife for safe capture. In September 1970, Mr. Throgmorton founded Winn-Star, a defense contractor.

He was a Master of the Foxhound Association of North America since 1968. As a Master of foxhounds, he was instrumental in bringing mounted horseback fox hunting to Southern Illinois. He was also a Standardbred horse owner for more than 30 years. For the entirety of that time, he maintained a stable of horses with his horse trainer at the Williamson County Fairgrounds in Marion, where Mr. Throgmorton served on the fair board and as speed superintendent of racing for many years.     

As Illinois county fairs and their harness racing programs were in a state of decline, Mr. Throgmorton’s efforts kept the local fair and its racing program in operation. He was deeply rooted in and loyal to the Illinois harness racing program, attending the Illinois yearling sales, selecting his own yearlings each year and racing them throughout the state, neighboring states, and Virginia. He had multiple Illinois county fair and state fair winners, the most notable of which were Fox Valley Chancey and Fast Track Bid, both of whom were retired to his farm in rural Carbondale at the conclusion of their racing careers.

Survivors include his son, Winston; grandson, Tristan Thomas and wife Jessica Throgmorton; grandson, Roderick Vincent Paul Throgmorton; granddaughter, Rachel Rose Throgmorton; two great grandsons, Jackson and Lincoln; brothers-in-law and sister-in-law; several nieces and nephews; host of beloved friends and extended family members. He was preceded in death by his parents, his loving wife Julia, two brothers, and four sisters.

A time of visitation will be held on Friday (May 31) from 4-6 p.m. and a moment of reflection at 5:30 pm at Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home in Marion. Condolences may be left at and memorial donations may be made to the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.


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