PCD Saddened to Announce Passing of Long-Time Faculty Member, Tom Ossman

PCD is sad to announce that one of our school's giants, Tom Ossman, passed away on Saturday, March 30. Mr. Ossman passed peacefully in the presence of family at his residence at Wingate Blackstone in Providence, where he lived for the past several years. Tom had recently turned 94 on March 1.
A native of New York, Tom grew up on Long Island, where he was a standout athlete in three sports at South Side High School in Rockville Centre. He is a member of that school’s athletic hall of fame. 

A gifted student, Tom attended Harvard University, where he earned a degree in economics in 1952. He later earned a master's degree in mathematics from Teachers College, Columbia University. Tom was a key member of the Harvard football team’s offensive backfield and told great stories about his squad’s battles against West Point and Ivy League foes, especially in The Game versus Yale. To this day he still holds Harvard’s single-game rushing touchdown record, which with characteristic humility he credited to his teammates' blocking. 

Following service in the US Army, Tom began his teaching career at Hebron Academy in Maine. He came to Country Day in 1968. A classroom presence at PCD until 2016, Tom’s approach to the teaching of math -- emphasizing steady effort, daily accountability, and independent learning -- impacted decades of PCD students. Over the years he built a first-rate AP Calculus program, with his students routinely earning the highest scores on the national exam. A large number of his former students attribute their growth and development as students and learners to the time spent in Tom’s classroom. 

Tom was also a rock of the PCD athletic program and served as head coach of the varsity football team from 1968 to 1993. His teams won four SENEISSA championships and his 1968 and 1978 squads went undefeated. Tom’s last championship team, in 1989, also played in that year’s NEPSAC Super Bowl. A great leader as a head coach, Tom was also an indispensable assistant and helped numerous basketball and baseball teams win titles while mentoring players and coaches alike. 

These details about Tom’s life do not begin to describe his immense impact and influence on generations of students, athletes, colleagues, and Providence Country Day as a whole. An unsung aspect of his many contributions to the school was his skilled and dutiful tending of our campus gardens, a labor of love for many years. A unique and remarkable individual, Tom was loyal, selfless, hardworking, talented, and funny, to name a few of this wonderful man’s qualities. Arrangements will be private, and Country Day will host a celebration of Tom’s life later this spring.