THOMAS NIBLACK liked to say he put the "b" in bop.
This fun-loving guy enjoyed testing his prowess at interpreting that musical style on the dance floor every chance he got, and he obviously thought highly of his ability to do so.
Although he liked to have fun, Tom Niblack had a serious side as pastor of two Baptist churches and as founder of the Segula Ministries in 2008. He was a 19-year employee of Traffic Court while pursuing his religious commitments, and one of his jobs was to boot the cars of motorists with long-overdue traffic fines.
Not a job that would let you win any popularity contents, but, hey, somebody has to do it.
Tom died April 23 of respiratory failure. He was 62 and lived in South Philadelphia.
Thomas Robert Niblack was born in Philadelphia to Loretta and Henry Eugene Niblack. He graduated from South Philadelphia High School and went on to attend Cheyney University part time.
He later received degrees from the Manna Bible Institute in North Philadelphia and Jamison Bible College in Wynnefield.
Tom worked as a nonteaching assistant at Vare Junior High School, and as a longshoreman before joining Traffic Court.
He worked in what is known as "boot and tow" to teach scofflaws a lesson, then became a court officer, a job he held until he became ill.
Tom served as pastor of Gospel Temple Baptist Church from 1994 to 2003, then as pastor of New Gethsemene Baptist Church for about five years before founding Segula Ministries, an interdenominational church in South Philadelphia.
He was a member of Local 696, of the city's blue-collar union. He served as trustee and chaplain.
Tom was a dedicated traveler, having visited many islands in the Caribbean as well as Hawaii.
He married Irene Barton on Sept. 28, 1996.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Thomas Jr.; two daughters, Triema "Tracy" Escott and Tai Niblack; two brothers, Charles and Eric Johnson, and five grandchildren.
Services: Were April 28. Burial was in Eden Cemetery, Collingdale. n