Thomas I. (Tippy) Spinks, 73, of Hopkinton and North Conway, New Hampshire, passed away at his home surrounded by family on Feb. 1 after a five-year battle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Born in Framingham and growing up in Saxonville, he was the son of the late Georgia (Spinks) Browne and Jack Patterson. He was the husband of 41 years to the late Patricia M. (Wallace) Spinks, who passed in 2017.
Tip moved to Hopkinton in the sixth grade and lived here the remainder of his life, though he would not call himself a true “townie,” having not been born here. He was a National Honor Society student and golf team captain at Hopkinton High School, graduating in 1967. Earning a partial scholarship to Bentley, he attended for one year until he decided to go into the trucking and construction field, which better suited him. He owned and operated Browne Drilling and Blasting Company from 1970, when he purchased it from his stepfather, until 2020, when his sons took over the business due to his symptoms of ALS. Making many friends in this field, he thoroughly enjoyed working with different characters every day. He served as a call firefighter for the Hopkinton Fire Department for 27 years from 1970 until retiring from active duty in 1997. He enjoyed being with the guys at the station and the camaraderie they had, making many lifelong friends. He also was an avid snowplow operator for the Hopkinton Highway Department, a job he very much enjoyed from the late 1960s until 2018. He was always excited for a big storm in the forecast. Tip often talked about plowing in the Blizzard of ’78 as one thing he would never forget.
In his leisure time, he enjoyed trips to his vacation homes in North Conway and Bartlett, New Hampshire, and made countless friends there while enjoying skiing and golfing. Tip loved summer, especially the Fourth of July, and would always like to take part in the parade floats in the early years and spending it in the mountains later on. His fondest days were golfing with his wife, Patty, and golf partners in the White Mountains and hitting the pub afterward. He also enjoyed photography, especially filming trains. He enjoyed Patriots games and watching sports at Cornell’s after a round of golf. He treasured spending quality time with his family and hosting many gatherings over the years. Thomas was a wonderful father, never missing a son’s sporting event and never failing to be a wonderful husband to the love of his life, Patty. He instilled a tough, hardworking approach to work in everything he did, making sure it was instilled in his sons.
Thomas is survived by two sons, Jeffrey S. Kenney and girlfriend Elizabeth Hogan of Hopkinton, and Thomas J. Spinks and wife Bethany of Hopkinton. He also leaves behind his siblings, Robert Browne and Stacey Treyble, both of Alabama, and his grandson, Anthony James “AJ” Spinks, whom he adored as his little buddy. He also leaves brother and sister-in-law Eugene and Marie Flannery of Hopkinton, sister-in-law Janet Martin of Rhode Island, and brother-in-law Steve Wallace of Florida. He leaves many nieces and nephews as well as many friends who will miss him greatly. He is predeceased by siblings Andrew Browne and Robin Browne, and stepfather Robert “Bob” Browne.
We would like to send a special thanks to all the nurses, aides and doctors who cared for him on this journey. We are especially grateful for Tip’s live-in caregiver, Mark Lee, whose compassionate and unrelenting care kept him comfortable in his home throughout his illness. Special thanks also to Ken Swenson, Tip’s good friend, who was in to visit every week to give him a couple of laughs. We will all miss this amazing, smart man dearly.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, Feb. 5, from 1-4 p.m. at Chesmore Funeral Home, 57 Hayden Rowe Street. In lieu of flowers, consider donating to the ALS Association (Massachusetts chapter) at donate.ma.als.org. Following calling hours, family and friends are welcome to gather at Cornell’s Irish Pub (229 Hayden Rowe Street) for food and drinks.
Obituaries are submissions, typically from funeral homes, that are not subject to the same level of editorial oversight as the rest of the Hopkinton Independent. Obituaries may be edited for grammatical and factual mistakes and clarifications and shortened for space considerations.