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Growing up during the Great Depression was difficult for Tom Jodon, but once he started school he felt a whole new world open in front of him. During this time in history, most children didn’t go to school beyond the 8th grade. Tom was the first in his family to graduate high school.

After graduation, Tom joined the military and served for two years. Upon his return home, he pursued his desire to learn and used the GI Bill to support his goal of becoming a teacher. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Clarion University, he taught history and English at Hempfield Area School District for more than thirty years–from 1960 to 1993.

Tom was an avid reader who loved books on history and the Civil War. He traveled extensively, loved his Pittsburgh sports teams, especially the Steelers, and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. He was their biggest fan and enjoyed attending their sporting events and school performances. Unfortunately, Tom passed away from Covid-19 in 2020.

His daughter Deanna created the Mr. Jodon Educational Scholarship Fund to keep her father’s legacy alive. “He was a dedicated teacher who touched thousands of lives,” said Deanna. “He was born into poverty, but knew at a young age that getting an education would help him overcome his circumstances. He always believed that education was the key to a better life.”

The scholarship will support students who are passionate about becoming an educator and will be open to graduating senior students, current college students, as well as adult learners in Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties pursuing a post-secondary degree in education. The scholarship will be permanently endowed at the Community Foundation allowing Tom’s legacy to support learning to continue perpetually.

To donate to this fund, click here. To learn more about how you can create a fund in memory of a loved one visit our website. If you have any questions or need more information, please reach out to Katrina Perkosky, Director of Donor Services at or call her at 814-208-8411.

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