Thomas Ashton Fosnocht, 87, of Malvern, a longtime dentist and community volunteer in Chester County, died Tuesday, April 16, of dementia at Daylesford Crossing, where he had lived since January.
Born in West Reading, Pa., and reared in Malvern, he graduated from the former Tredyffrin/Easttown Senior High School, which is now Conestoga High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Gettysburg College and a degree in dentistry from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 1955.
Dr. Fosnocht began his career while stationed with the Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. After completing two years of military service, he returned to the United States with Mary Raymond Lambert, who had crossed the Atlantic to marry him in Germany. The couple settled in Chester County in 1958.
He had a dental practice in Paoli for 40 years and taught for 15 of those years at Penn’s School of Dental Medicine. He was a member of the Stomatological Dental Society throughout his career. Stomatology is the study of the structure, function, and diseases of the mouth.
While still in private practice, he treated patients who could not afford to pay for his services. After retiring in 1997, he continued offering pro bono dental treatment to low-income families through Community Volunteers in Medicine, a nonprofit in West Chester. He also led a fundraising campaign for Paoli Hospital.
A mainstay of the community through his work, service, and social engagement, he served on the vestry at the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, and later, as a choir member at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Malvern.
He and his wife traveled widely and liked to entertain at their home. For many years, they volunteered twice a week as classroom reading and math aides at Sugartown Elementary School.
He was an early member of the Waynesborough Country Club, where he enjoyed tennis and golf. Dr. Fosnocht, a trombone player, enjoyed attending performances at the Academy of Music featuring the Philadelphia Opera Company.
Dr. Fosnocht’s son, John A. Fosnocht, described his father as very outgoing. “One thing that people always remarked on was his big smile,” his son said. “He had an enthusiastic greeting for anyone who walked in the room.”
Dr. Fosnocht’s wife died in 2012. In addition to his son, John, he is survived by children Thomas A. Jr., Joan F. Orr, Mary, and Rebecca F. Misangyi; 14 grandchildren; and a sister. A granddaughter died earlier.
A visitation starting at noon Sunday, May 26, will be followed by a 1 p.m. life celebration at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church, 689 Sugartown Rd., Malvern, Pa. 19355. Burial is private.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis in the Fields at the address above, or to the Margaret Orr Memorial Choral Scholarship Fund at the Church of the Redeemer, 230 Pennswood Rd., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010.