Dr. Thomas Franklin Hopkins, age 98, formerly of Salem, Massachusetts, passed away on March 6, 2021. Thomas was the eldest son of Thomas and Dorothy Hopkins. He was born on December 16, 1922, in Culpeper, Virginia, grew up in Revere, MA, and graduated from Revere High School, class of 1942. Upon graduation, he joined the U. S. Marine Corps and served proudly during World War II in the Military Police of his U. S. Marine Corps unit ahead of his stint as a boxing coach for the Marine Corps, among other roles. Following his service in the Marine Corps, he continued his education and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University, a Master’s degree from Brandeis University, and a Ph.D. in Biology from Boston University. As a medical researcher at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, he became the first African-American laboratory investigator, whose work supported the Worcester Foundation’s development of the first female oral contraceptive. He subsequently went on to teach Biology at the University of Connecticut. Finally, as Chairman of the Natural Sciences Department at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, he mentored Ph.D. students and taught Biology as well as serving as the dean of the university’s honors program. He published countless scientific papers during his career in academia. He was a beloved and treasured member of the Board of Directors of Building Bridges through Music, Inc.- a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization co-founded by his sister Virginia and niece Doreen. Thomas was an avid reader, writer, photographer, coin collector, inventor, and scientist until his passing. He loved nature and especially taking long walks along the beach at Salem Willows while residing in Salem, Massachusetts. Dr. Thomas Hopkins was preceded in death by his sister, Laura Dorothy Jones and brother, Sim Hopkins. He leaves a daughter Thea Hopkins of Somerville, MA, sons Thomas of Milton, MA, Charles of Worcester, MA, Michael Franti of San Francisco, CA, and Arthur of Smyrna, GA. He leaves eleven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He also leaves his sister Virginia, “Ginny”, of Revere, MA, whom he adored, to cherish many shared memories.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends consider making a donation to Building Bridges Through Music in his memory. https://www.bbtmusic.org