As Tom got more into the drumming, he realized the potential for using his carpentry skills to restore and make Civil War-era drums and started a business called Old Drums Made New.
“When Tom put his mind to anything, he could do it,” Sandra said.
She said Tom found some drum shells in Baltimore, made hoops and ears, the leather pieces, and found a source overseas for linen rope.
After Tom and his first wife divorced, he was working in the Westminster, Md., area and looking for a place to ballroom dance. He went to the dance studio in Westminster, where Sandra was taking dance lessons, and he started attending the Friday night socials.
Sandra said she liked to make Tom smile to see the dimple in his cheek.
“He had a nice laugh. He enjoyed life,” Sandra said.
Tom and Sandra married in the late 1980s and have two children, who are in college. While the children were growing up, the family went to Pen Mar Park every Sunday so the parents could dance and the children could play, Sandra said.
It was Tom’s penchant for preservation that prompted the family to settle in the area. Tom spent a year building a home for Toby off Mount Aetna Road in Hagerstown, which was completed in 1993.
Tom went to the auction of the M.P. Moller Organ Co. equipment when the factory closed and purchased a half-dozen wooden work benches and other items. In need of a place to store his new treasures, the family purchased a house in Smithsburg in 1994 and settled there.
Tom restored the outhouse, smokehouse and chicken coop on the property. When Tom learned the fire department was going to burn the vacant barn on the property next to them, he got permission to move it and used telephone poles to roll the barn to their property, Sandra said. The family’s deck is made out of wood from an old water tower.
“That’s one thing about Tom. He liked to preserve things. He believed in preserving the old ways, antique tools,” Sandra said.
Tom was quick to share his knowledge of his many interests with others, often speaking to groups, including the Smithsburg Historical Society, of which he was a member.
He wrote letters to Fine Homebuilding magazine that led to him working as a contributing editor for 14 years. Tom also appeared in several workshop videos in his areas of expertise.
“He was the go-to guy for answers,” Sandra said.
Life changed for Tom after a stroke about three years ago, complicated by Parkinson’s disease.
“He couldn’t use his hands anymore, so he couldn’t hold (drum) sticks, a musket or sharpen saws,” Toby said. “He couldn’t do all the things he loved to do. It was a tough three years.”
Editor’s note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail runs “A Life Remembered.” Each story in this continuing series takes a look back — through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others — at a member of the community who died recently. Today’s “A Life Remembered” is about Thomas L. Law, who died July 18 at the age of 74. His obituary was published in the July 25 edition of The Herald-Mail.