UPDATE: Sept 11 – 1:30pm – Funeral arrangements have been set for WBOC owner Tom Draper, who died last week after a bicycle accident. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8m on Thursday, Sept 14, a funeral service will begin at 11am Friday, Sept. 15 – both taking place a Crossroad Community Church west of Georgetown. Burial will be private.
Memorial donations – Draper Holdings Charitable Foundation
One The Square
Milton, DE 19968
These donations will benefit non-profit organizations that Tom Draper was passionate about.
UPDATE: Sept. 8, 5:08 AM – Tom Draper died during the overnight hours. WBOC reporting the long-time owner succumbed to injuries sustained after a bicycle crash near Slaughter Beach yesterday.
Draper was born in Milford in 1941 and got his start in broadcasting there at a radio station in the 1960s, before moving into TV in the 1980s. Just last Sunday Draper celebrated his 50th year in broadcasting. Draper also operated grain farms in Kent and Sussex Counties, was an avid cyclist and was interested in wildlife habitat management, waterfowl hunting, historical research, supported numerous educational initiatives, and in his later years, got into gardening. Draper is survived by 4 children and 8 grandchildren. He was 76 years old.
ORIGINAL STORY: A crash involving a bicycle is under investigation by Delaware State Police. The crash occurred just after 7:30this morning on Slaughter Beach Road when a pickup truck driven by 37 year old Shawn Armstrong struck a bike ridden by 76 year old Thomas Draper of Milford. Armstrong, who was not injured, stopped and called 9-1-1 – WBOC reports that he stayed with Draper until emergency personnel arrived on the scene. Draper is the long-time owner of WBOC and has been flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore in critical condition. No charges have been filed at this time and police say drug and alcohol use do not appear to be factors.
Delaware Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson made the following statement upon learning of the death of WBOC-TV founder, and his friend, Tom Draper:
“It is an understatement to say that Tom Draper was a unique individual; philanthropist, naturalist, businessman, hunter, leader, friend, father, grandfather and so much-much more. He was a proud Delawarean, and an unashamed lover of southern Delaware and its natural beauty, taking great pains throughout his life to protect it for future generations.
One of the things that struck me most about Tom was his uncanny ability to quickly sift through the BS of an issue and get to the heart of the discussion. He was a smart and unparalleled visionary who could see into the future and make wise decisions on how things could be made better.
Tom was never content in doing things as they had always been done in the past or in maintaining the status quo if he thought he had a better idea. He was willing to take calculated risks that almost always turned out to be correct.
Tom enjoyed life and always lived it to its fullest. If he could have, I’m sure he would have enjoyed being an early pioneer and explorer of the old West or taking that first step on the moon.
Tom was a personal friend and I hate to lose his wise counsel when it comes to all things political. Tom had little patience for waste in government and for ineffectual politicians. He liked straight shooters and was willing to support those candidates who he thought could make a difference.
Tom Draper was a humble man and didn’t need to build himself up in the public eye. He was not boastful. He could be forceful, but had a quiet strength about him that garnered respect from all those around him. I will miss him. Delaware has lost one of its best.”