Thomas Matthew Belcher, 53, was born to Stiles Dwaine Belcher and Gladys (Sue) Diller Belcher in Albany, Texas, on March 21, 1969, the youngest of three children. He died at home on Diller Flat on July 24, 2022, after a long battle with what started as throat cancer.
He grew up on the North Diller Ranch between Albany and Fort Griffin and never lived anywhere else except for a stint tending cattle for Matthews-Lambshead Ranches at Park Springs Ranch near Anton Chico, New Mexico. He was a fourth generation Shackelford County cattle raiser, farmer and a working cowboy. He worked for the Matthews-Lambshead Ranches for 30 years, as well as running his own herd on the Diller and Belcher Charolais Ranches. His side job was hunting guide.
At the request of his Great Aunt Edna, he was named for her husband, Thomas Lindsay Blanton, III, a gentleman attorney and rancher who was instrumental in bringing Charolais cattle to this area.
Tom graduated from Albany High School in 1987, where he was frequently suspended for having a rifle or beer cans in his pickup. Still, he loved the police dogs and the officers. He cared little for academics, but he liked agriculture, and he loved people. His academic brag was the lowest score ever recorded in Albany on the To Kill a Mockingbird test in high school English – a five (5). The teacher, Mrs. Vickie Wilson, even told of it with a grin. His junior year he was elected the first ever male president of the Future Homemakers of America in Albany. That year he was also president of the FFA, a class officer, FHA Beau, and Winter Favorite.
He was usually quiet and deflected most questions. He hosted legendary pasture parties in the 1980s, and that never really stopped but evolved to be home parties or weekends with friends on the Brazos River. He and Leslie kept an open door – the more, the merrier, and no need for ceremony, organization, or pretention.
Barely bigger than a jockey, Tom loved to fish, hunt, cook, and ride horses, whether on the job, in a ranch rodeo, or performing in the Fandangle. He smoked, he drank, he rarely refused a dare. He had more broken bones than we can recall. He loved his domestic pets, including his dachshund Ace.
He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Leslie Jean Clift Belcher; two daughters, Blakeney Belcher Lupton (Dallas) of Sagerton, TX, and Blanton Belcher of Albany, TX; three granddaughters, Hadley, Riley, and Haven Lupton; his mother Sue Balliew of Albany, TX; his brother, Mark Belcher (Melissa) of Weatherford, TX; his sister, Sunday Tidwell (Don) of Albany, TX; two nephews, Clayton Belcher and Collin Belcher; one niece, Allison Belcher; his step-sister, Glenda Balliew Summers (Allen) of Liberty Hill, TX; step nieces, Kelli Mitchell, Kacey Stokes, and Kristi White; mother-in-law, Lana Blanton Clift of Albany, TX; sister-in-law, Amber Stultz (Jimmy); Amber’s children, Ian, Will, and Kloee; and a special cousin and neighbor, Harley Stunkard of Albany, TX.
Tom was predeceased by his father, Stiles Belcher; his step-father, Glen Balliew; father-in-law, Terry Clift; grandparents, John H. and Virginia Flinn Diller, and Walter R. and Minnie Prine Belcher.
Pallbearers were Jamie Nail, Paul Ivy, Bobby Williams, John Caldwell, Kevin Davison, Dustin Parsons, Kolby Lowe, and Keelan Lowe.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Girdner Funeral Home and were officiated by Luke Spraberry, Wednesday, July 27, at Bethel Assembly of Albany, TX. Burial and reception were at the Nail Ranch Family Cemetery.
Tom’s family suggests that memorials can be given to Cancer Services Network Abilene Chapter, PO Box 2026, Abilene TX 79604. PD