Pete Tome was a black belt member of the Hombu dojo in Elkton, Maryland. Pete worked his way up to ni-dan (2nd degree black belt) awarded by his sensei, Master Bud Ewing.
In the summer of 2001, Pete died as a result of a skydiving accident. He had been out of training for awhile and had returned to classes just a few weeks before his death. This came a shock to the OI family as he was very skilled at his passion, putting in countless hours and numerous jumps.
“I met Pete Tome when I petitioned to join the Order of Isshin-Ryu in 1996,” said Sensei Popp. “He had an impressive, muscular frame yet he seemed as friendly and gentle as someone you’ve known for a lifetime. He was always smiling, always there to lend a helping hand. It wasn’t until I began writing this book that I learned of his wife’s tragic passing, which wasn’t long before I met him in the mid-90s. Being around his OI family certainly picked up his spirits.”
At one point, Pete remodeled the Hombu dojo in Elkton, Maryland. Sensei Kurt Kline recalls putting in countless reps at the makiwara board over the years at Hombu, and he wanted it for his home. However, Pete had other ideas and took it for himself. Sensei Kline remembers, “He never heard the end of that from me.”
Members of the OI fondly recall the affection which Pete and his wife had for the OI family. Sensei Adam Knox mentions he and his wife, Brenda, were like ‘mom and dad’ to the dojo, always there to take care of the little things like sewing the red trim on the students’ gi pants. Sensei Kline points out, “Pete was a pilot. One time he took me on a ride to Pennsylvania to fly over my parent’s house so I could take a picture for them. He was a good guy.”