The end of an era
OAKLAND, N.J.--Thomas Few Sr., a security industry leader and founder of Criticom International, died at home on July 19 at the age of 60 after a year-long battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, and five children: Tom Jr., Robert, Suzanne, Jeffrey and Kathleen and two granddaughters, Morgan and Madison.
Known as "Sr." by his friends and colleagues, Few worked in the security industry for 40 years and held senior positions with Holmes Protection, ADEMCO, Guardian and ADT before founding Criticom International, at one time the largest independent alarm monitoring company in the U.S. (Criticom was bought by Protection One in April of this year.)
Few remained active in the industry. With his children Robert, Jeffery and Kathleen, he was instrumental in starting up the King Monitoring Group, which opened its doors on July 15 in South Carolina.
George Gunning, past president of the California Alarm Association and current president of the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association, said he met Few decades ago when they were both advocating for the industry in Washington, D.C. "I met Sr. when we were blitzing Washington back in the '80s. He came down from N.J.; he was representing himself and the business. He was a good friend of mine and a good friend and an asset to the industry."
John Murphy, Central Station Alarm Association president, said, "Tom Few was one of the finest gentlemen I met in our industry. He was always courteous and professional whether we were sitting across the negotiating table or the dinner tables of CSAA or NBFAA. I know Tom's sons, as he knew my son, and [I] wish them well as they continue their father's legacy of courtesy and professionalism. We will miss Tom." Steve Doyle, executive vice president of CSAA, echoed Murphy's sentiments: "CSAA would like to extend our condolences to Tom's family. Tom was a great supporter of CSAA and the industry, and he will be missed."
Gunning added, "The man had tremendous integrity. I've never heard him say one bad word about anybody. He's a guy I respected, and enjoyed being with."
Few's daughter Kathleen offered this memory of her father: "We were on his boat on the Hudson River for the Fourth of July. We received a phone call from the central station stating that we were experiencing high alarm activity. My dad turned the boat around and headed back to the marina. As a family we all headed to the central station, my dad stopped on the way in to grab 15 pizzas for the staff, and proceeded to sit down at a cubicle and handle alarms. It was his actions that made me realize that he wasn't someone who sat at the head seat of a conference table and barked out orders, he was truly a member of the team."
According to a his family, "Our dad believed and counseled many along the way that, 'The only thing you truly own in life is your character. Without it you have nothing, and you do take it with you, so treat it well.' He was a man who made everything possible, wanted nothing in return, and taught us never to quit."
Tom Few Sr.'s funeral was held on July 23, in Oakland, N.J.