Thomas Shepherd Hook, II

  • Birth 18 Sep 1923
  • Death 24 Feb 2005
  • Burial Unknown
  • Memorial ID 110628759

HOOK, Thomas S. On February 24, 2005, THOMAS S. HOOK, beloved father of the late Evan Shipley and Thomas Shepherd Hook III; he is also survived by his good friend Patience Fritz and her family. A Memorial Service will be celebrated in the University Baptist Church, 3501 N. Charles St., Baltimore, on Saturday, March 5 at 1 P.M. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be directed in Mr. Hook's name, to Washington & Lee University, Development Office-Memorial Gift, Lexington, VA 24405. Arrangements - Lemmon Funeral Home.

Baltimore Sun, March 2, 2005
***
Thomas Shepherd Hook, 81, aviation historian and author
Thomas Shepherd Hook, a nationally known aviation historian and author who chronicled in several books the Navy's ill-fated dirigible program of the 1920s and '30s, died of lung cancer Thursday at the Mays Chapel home of a friend. He was 81, and formerly a longtime Hampden resident.
Mr. Hook was born in Baltimore and raised in Ruxton. He became interested in aviation while attending Gunston School near Centreville in the early 1930s.
"At school, a number of our friends' dads were Navy pilots, including several who flew the biplanes that were aboard the lighter-than-air ships Macon and Shenandoah, and Tom was just fascinated with them," said J. Thomas Martin, a lifelong friend and retired marine manufacturers' representative.
"When we'd go back to Gunston for reunions, Tom would point to a field and say, 'I remember when a biplane landed there,' or a seaplane landed on the Corsica River," said Patience Fritz, with whom he had lived in Mays Chapel since last year.
There was excitement when one of the jumbo dirigibles such as the Los Angeles or Akron silently glided in the skies above the school.
"Sometimes we'd get the big airships to fly over the school, and everybody would run out and look at these things that were three or four times as big as blimps," Mr. Hook said in a 2002 City Paper profile.
After graduating from St. Paul's School, then located in Mount Washington, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 but was ineligible to become a pilot because he was colorblind. He was assigned other duties in the Pacific and attained the rank of sergeant. He later earned a private pilot's license.
Mr. Hook earned his bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University in 1949.
He worked as a public affairs officer for the Army's Chemical Research and Development Laboratories at Edgewood Arsenal and later at the Navy's Marine Engineering Laboratory in Annapolis.
He was manager of the Federal Aviation Administration's Public Inquiry Center in Washington from 1962 until retiring in 1985.
Forty years ago, Mr. Hook established Airsho Publishers in his Hampden home, where he had models of dirigibles and airplanes suspended from the ceiling on fishing line. That year he wrote and published his first book, Illustrated Flying Basics, an instructional manual and guide.
The lure of the Navy's airship program, and the tragedy that seemingly stalked it, propelled Mr. Hook to research and write about the development and loss of the 680-foot Shenandoah, the first dirigible built in the United States. It was ripped apart by a thunderstorm over southeastern Ohio in 1925 in a crash that killed 14 of its 43 crew members.
Mr. Hook published Shenandoah Saga in 1973, and it was followed three years later by Sky Ship: The Akron Era. Sky Ship told the story of the Akron, which in 1933 plunged 1,000 feet during a violent storm into the Atlantic off Beach Haven, N.J. Only three survived among the ship's crew of 76.
Mr. Hook - who wrote under the name Thom Hook - published his last book, Flying Hookers for the Macon: The Last Great Rigid Airship Adventure, in 2001.
In 1935, while cruising over the Pacific during fleet maneuvers, the Macon was hit by a powerful gust of wind that snapped its vertical fin. For 33 minutes, while crew members attempted to stabilize the crippled ship, it slowly fell to the sea and sank. But 83 of the 85 crew members survived.
An indefatigable researcher, Mr. Hook combed the Smithsonian Institution and National Archives for information on the zeppelin era.
"His books are absolutely first-rate. He was able to combine detailed information about those who designed, built and flew the big rigids, along with extraordinary images," said Tom D. Crouch, a curator at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. "And he was doing it at a time when the field of study of the rigids wasn't as large as it is today."
Mr. Hook's other interests including playing the trombone in the Boumi Temple and Tall Cedars of Lebanon bands and listening to Big Band music of the 1940s.
His marriage to the former Patricia Shipley ended in divorce.
Even though he was a communicant of St. David's Episcopal Church, at Mr. Hook's request a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at University Baptist Church, 3501 N. Charles St.
In addition to Mrs. Fritz, he is survived by nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his two sons, Thomas S. Hook III and Evan S. Hook.

Sun staff writer William Patalon III contributed to this article.
***


See more Hook memorials in:

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Created by: Debbie
  • Added: 16 May 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 110628759
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Shepherd Hook, II (18 Sep 1923–24 Feb 2005), Find A Grave Memorial no. 110628759, ; Maintained by Debbie (contributor 47155825) Unknown.