Capt. Thomas Oliver Felton, SC, USNR

May 23, 1933 ~ October 20, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old

Capt. Thomas Felton, SC, USNR Obituary

Capt. Thomas O. Felton, SC, USNR (Ret.) completed his tour on October 20, 2023.

Tom was born on May 23, 1933, to Agnes Felton (née Murray) and Oliver Felton in Appleton, Wisconsin. Raised in Milwaukee, he graduated from Marquette University High School. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Marquette University, where he was captain of the tennis team.

Shortly after receiving his undergraduate degree from Marquette, Tom entered the United States Navy. He was commissioned in 1957 as a member of the 30th Officer Candidate School class in Newport, Rhode Island.

Tom met his late wife Patricia (née Sheppard) while stationed at NATO in Naples, Italy. They returned to the United States and went on to have three children: Catherine, Thomas, and Clare.

The family first settled in Southern California, where Tom concurrently pursued his naval career and his art. He studied with Charles White at the Otis Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design) and with Paul Sousa at the Art Center College of Design, both in Los Angeles. His works were added to the collections of the Nebraska Historical Society, Loyola University, and Citicorp.

Rather than confine his art to his private life, Capt. Felton applied his artistic talent to his military service. His portrait of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient John Joseph Parle was displayed in the Omaha City Hall. Creating cover art for Supply Corps News is just one other example of the creative flair that uplifted each station he served.

Capt. Felton remained a formidable tennis player long after graduation from Marquette. Among many tournament feats, he won the NATO AFSE (Allied Forces South Europe) Championship in both singles and doubles. He was also a finalist in the All-Navy Atlantic Coast tournament at Norfolk, Virginia, and a semi-finalist at the North Atlantic Regional Tennis Tournament at Governor’s Island, New York. Beyond honing his own game, he devoted his spare time to junior tennis programs in the various cities where he was stationed.

In 1967 Tom Felton went on a two-year hiatus from the military, at which time he worked for Rockwell International as a cost analyst for the F-111 fighter/bomber. This experience sparked an interest in the log-linear learning curve model of cost projection. He returned to the Navy and began researching 11 years of Defense Documentation Center data, Rand Corporation studies, experimental log cube curves, and three-dimensional models. The result was the thesis “Cost Analysis and the Learning Curve,” which earned him a Creighton University MBA. These experiences “afloat and ashore” formed the foundation for the stellar performance in supply and logistics that accelerated his rise to rank of Captain.

Capt. Felton served in Vietnam both before and after his two-year break. Over both phases of his career, he was decorated with the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Naval Reserve Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

In 1986, Capt. Felton retired from his 30-year naval career. He then dedicated himself to his art, including the study of lithography at the Art Students League of New York. Fortifying his commitment to youth tennis, he also coached for the Philadelphia Department of Recreation chapter of the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL).

Tom was passionate about Italy and France—particularly the Amalfi Coast and Paris—and returned to both on numerous occasions. The rest of the time, he created paintings and renderings that deliver the splendor of European Gothic cathedrals, villages in Provence, and Italian hill towns to his family and friends.

Capt. Felton and his late wife, Pat, are survived by their three children and four grandchildren, Alexander, Cole, Julia, and Luke.

The family extends their deepest thanks to the devoted, talented staff of the Coatesville VA Community Living Center.

While all expressions of sympathy are welcome, please consider a memorial donation to the Frances Tiafoe Fund. By supporting the nationwide NJTL network, this fund makes tennis accessible to young people without regard to their financial status. Visit to learn more and give.

As the fitness reports attest, Capt. Felton has performed all duties in an outstanding manner during this reporting period. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

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