Thomas Nunes – Shipmate and Friend

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

PHOENIX – Thomas Nunes, shipmate and friend, died last night at home surrounded by his children and beloved wife Pamela.  Tom was a true warrior who fought a fierce battle against that monster called “cancer” for the better part of the past two years.

Those of us who knew and/or worked with Tom will always remember his decisive leadership skills, his eagerness to continually push the envelope in an effort to improve everything — and everyone — around him, and his love for everything “Coast Guard”.

Tom attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy where he graduated as a
commissioned officer and served the Coast Guard for many years, meeting
many friends, and retiring at the rank of Commander. He entered corporate life
on the civilian side to better provide for his family, but the Coast Guard
was never far away.  He maintained close ties with the Academy and his
active duty friends, before joining the Coast Guard Auxiliary in May 2005.

Tom had a passion for Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs where he
quickly rose through the ranks.  He served as a branch chief in the AUXPA
Training Division where he helped train and shape the future public
affairs officers of the Auxiliary.  This is when many of us first heard of
Tom Nunes.

Quickly excelling to deputy director where he served for two years, and
then to director for another two years, Tom left his mark on the public
affairs department in a way that few leaders ever have, or could.  There
was no task too small or too trivial for Tom Nunes to undertake.

He closely adhered to the Coast Guard public affairs mantra of “maximum
disclosure with minimum delay” and encouraged his AUX-12 students and
fellow public affairs officers to both learn and embrace the Coast Guard
way.  Tom was ever the teacher.

Tom fearlessly maintained station when challenged by those ignorant of
policy and process within the realm of public affairs.  He stood fast with
integrity and purpose, always seeking better ways to inform the
membership, and promote the Coast Guard Auxiliary brand.

Tom Nunes was also a family man, ever-devoted to his lovely wife Pam who
he unabashedly adored throughout his life.  If there was an italian
restaurant nearby, you could bet that Tom and Pam would be sure to pay it
a visit.  The wine and conversation would flow, and happiness always
filled the room — enlightening those around them.

When a Coast Guard Auxiliary member passes on, we tend to say they have
“crossed the bar.”  I have no doubt that a determined and fearless Tom
Nunes did not merely cross the bar, he stood tall before that bar and
convinced it to part in half as he sashayed out beyond it and into the
ocean of the great unknown.

We will miss Tom Nunes immensely.  Tom’s spirit lives on in those of us he

Funeral arrangements are pending.


Christopher Todd
Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

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  1. Allison (Al) Revy, Jr. says:

    I knew that Tom was in the thick of a battle. Still, when I read today’s article; it drought tears to my eyes; tears that are reserved for my family, close friends and those I respect. I feel that Tom fits the second catagory and definitely is in the third.

    I first met Tom the evening before the AUX-12 school held in Portsmouth, VA in July 2007. I didn’t know he was an instructor until class started the next day. Just easy going and great to talk with.

    Since then he and I have emailed back and forth many times, mainly him counseling and guiding me.

    He will be missed.

  2. Christopher Todd says:

    This blog; “Coast Guard Auxiliary Live” – the official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary – is due in large part to the vision and perseverance of Tom Nunes who as director of public affairs continually sought out to technologies and formats to communicate with our audiences.

    He was our friend. Tom is our shipmate.

  3. Sheila Seiler Lagrand says:

    This is a touching, wonderful piece. You’ve captured his special character, his essence.

    You’ve done him proud.

  4. Christopher Todd says:

    Good Afternoon-

    After meeting with the Church and Funeral Home, services for Tom will be held Friday, November 23 at 11:00 am. Previous to this at 10 am there will be a viewing. The funeral and viewing will be held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Phoenix (see link below). We recognize this is very short notice and understand if you cannot be with us at this time. The family is working with the Funeral Home to organize a burial at Arlington at a later date.

    Chris Nunes

  5. Brett Bigelow says:

    Thank you for concisely capturing such a big life in words. I had the privilege to work with Tom on a regular basis since joining the USCGAUX in 2005. Our time together ran the full range: from PA events to teaching AUXOP classes to PA school to patrols as coxswain/crew together. Priceless memories. But most of all – almost every event included having Pam there too. At one point she even told me (half-jokingly) that the main reason she joined the USCGAUX herself was just so they could see each other! Tom’s passion for this work will continue on through the lives he touched. Farewell, Shipmate.

  6. Eric J. Hebert says:

    I met Tom teaching the AUXPA C-School. He was kind, intelligent and generous. It was a pleasure to work with him. I remember the dinners we would have! Nothing like family style Chinese in San Francisco!

  7. Charles J Miller,II says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Tom this May in
    Boston who was my instructor at C-School.
    His knowledge and spirit was inspiring.
    He was a true “class act “. I was so impressed
    with his passion for the Guard. He made me
    feel like family .

    Thank you Tom and I will always remember
    the laughs and smile. Heaven has a good
    Coastie at the helm.

    Charles J Miller,II
    Flotilla 4-2

  8. Bill Morris says:

    He will be missed. I was always able to get straight answers from him.
    Fair winds, following seas

  9. Rob Green says:

    Tom truly lived his life with purpose, vision, and wisdom, and was a selfless mentor to us all…in short, he was the quintessential Coast Guardsman.

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  10. Christopher Todd says:

    From the family of Tom Nunes …

    All members and friends who wish to leave memories and condolences are welcome to visit

    Tom’s wife Pam and his children Daniel, Jennifer, and Christopher all appreciate the kind thoughts from Tom’s Coast Guard Auxiliary Family

  11. Lourdes R. Oliveras from Puerto Rico says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Tom at AUX-12 at Coast Guard Yard/Baltimore,MD in Summer 2010.He was a very-very fine and wise man who served for me and many fellow Auxiliarists as a “mentor” and spontaneous educator.His simple yet very precise way of teaching things were very natural and very easy to understand, even for the ones that English is not our primary language.
    Tom,I salute you and fair winds on this new journey to Heaven!
    Will remember you always and forever…

    Lourdes R. Oliveras,PA-I
    Fl 1-10

  12. David Story says:

    I,and everyone else in the Auxiliary that knew Tom, will surely miss him.The Auxiliary has lost a GREAT Person and Member.

  13. Mike LeBlanc says:

    I met Tom at C-School in Boston last March. I could tell by his passion for Public Affairs and the Coast Guard he knew what he was talking about and he was a very good listener to me as a novice. At the closing of our class he announced he would be stepping away from instructing C-School. Im sure he knew something the rest of us didn’t. It was very hard to watch this proud man step away from something that he loved doing but he knew he had a bigger battle to fight. We all only wished he had won. We shall miss you Tom and God bless you and your family.

  14. Michael Goodwin says:

    here it is July and I just found out Mr. Nunes has crossed the bar, RIP Sir !

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