Thomas William Cass was born in Huntington, Long Island, New York on September 18, 1925. His parents were Mary Alice Francis Cass & John Michael Cass, an immigrant from Ireland in 1906. In 1936, the Cass Family moved to Portland, Texas and started Cass Real Estate in 1938, with offices in Portland and Corpus Christi. Tom attended Incarnate Word Academy in Corpus Christi and graduated in 1943 from Gregory High School. Tom attended Port Arthur College and went into the Merchant Marines in 1945, became a radio technician nicknamed “Sparks” and traveled to Italy, Africa and Greece. Tom returned to Portland, obtained his Real Estate Broker’s license and Insurance Broker’s license. In 1950, Tom was drafted into the army and served 2 years in Germany. Back in Portland on August 14, 1958, Tom met Norma Frances Aubertine. Tom & Norma were married January 17, 1959. The Cass family attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel church & grew to 7, with the addition of 4 daughters and 1 son. In 1964, Tom & Norma Cass took their family to Major’s River Camp, where the family created great memories on the Frio River for 25 years.
As a champion of civil rights in 1964, Thomas Cass embodied the Realtor Code of Ethics and welcomed an engineer’s family to their new Portland home, which door was not previously opened due to rampant discrimination & intolerance. Thomas Cass also subdivided a parcel of land, extended affordable terms and had the street named “Ochoa Street” to honor his fellow parishioners and his friends, whose family purchased 8 residential lots.
Thomas Cass was awarded “Realtor Emeritus” status for his years of service as a Texas Realtor. Tom was a devout Catholic and was active in the charismatic renewal/cursillo movement, the all-faith prayer group, adoration chapel & Life in the Spirit seminars. Tom served his community in hundreds of ways including leadership roles on the Planning & Zoning Commission, Portland Volunteer Fire Department, Portland Salvation Army, Chamber of Commerce/Leadership Portland, Kiwanas Club, Gregory-Portland Little League, Portland ISD prior to consolidation with Gregory, San Patricio County EDC, multiple area, state & national real estate organizations, Our Lady of Mount Carmel finance/building committees and as Grand Knight of the San Patricio Council of Knights of Columbus. On May 15, 2018, Mayor David Krebs declared that Tom has brokered more properties and served more buyers and sellers than any Realtor in Portland’s history, worked for over 50 years to make Portland a better place to live & proclaimed May 15, 2018 as Thomas Cass Day. The oldest continuous business in Portland, Cass Real Estate celebrates its 83rd year & is carried on for a 3rd generation through Patti, Shawn, sales agents & property management team.
On Friday, February 14, 2020, Tom Cass left a great legacy behind and joined his bride Norma.
Tom enjoyed the shenanigans of his kids and grandkids, had an infectious laugh & lived each moment. Tom is survived by his 5 children, Mary Deane (Fr. Reid Hensarling), Ellen, Carolyn (Frank Olevitch), Shawn & Patti (Nico Strain), and 6 grandchildren, Amy, David, Thomas, Katherine, Donovan & Charlotte. Tom gave his family unconditional love, instilled a solid foundation built on good character, a strong work ethic, honesty, commitment, serving others, citizenship, enjoying those around you and understanding that “we only have this moment”.
The family wishes to thank Renee Majek, Claire Gilmore, various care professionals & our sister Ellen for allowing this Captain of the real estate industry to peacefully leave his home.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM with the Rosary at 7:00 PM on Friday February 21, 2020 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 1008 Austin Street, Portland, Texas. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 AM on Saturday February 22, 2020 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. Burial will follow in Palms Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Portland Texas.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, San Patricio County Association of Realtors or a charity of your choice.
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