Music 34


Tommy Seaman

1939 - 2021


Thomas R. Seaman, 81, of Rantoul, died on March 9, 2021 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.


Tommy was born on June 29, 1939 in Champaign, to Raymond and Mary (Claypool) Seaman. He was preceded in death by his parents and his only brother, Kenny.


He married Denise Dabney in 1970, and together they had 3 children. Tommy is survived by his children, Crystal Freihage of FL, Charity (Larry) Porter of Rantoul and Colby Seaman of Chicago; 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.


Tommy was a musician for his entire life. He came from a very musical family, and began performing with his father at the age of 11. Later in life Tommy joined the band, The Wonders, which performed throughout the Champaign area. Tommy was also a renowned Elvis impersonator for over 20 years and was well known for “The Tommy Seaman” show.


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101 North Elm Street, Champaign, IL

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Rosemary Meister

March 18, 2021 4:02 PM

RIP Tommy. Lots of Memories Music and good times, My heart goes out to Crystal, Charity, and Colby. and all your loved ones.

John Zienkosky

March 18, 2021 12:01 PM

In the mid '80's I saw the ad in the News-Gazette and chuckled.  My girlfriend asked me what was so funny and I told her there was an opening for a Frontman for an Elvis impersonator.  She chuckled and said, "Well, you need the gig."  She was right and I met with Tommy Ray Seaman and his wife that evening at their home.  He hired me after I played a couple of songs for him on my guitar and sang.  He showed me all the scarves he and his wife had collected from their trips to see Elvis in Vegas.  I left that night with a job I wasn't sure how I felt about. 

By luck and word of mouth we pulled together a 9 piece band of top flight musicians and a sound man.  Horns, keyboards , guitars and most members could play each others instruments.  Many of us sang as well.  Together we were a really good band.  

But when Tommy Ray took the stage we were a really great band.  His performance was spot on with a next level stage presence.  His powerful voice could start in the basement, go to the attic and come back again without breaking a sweat.  His performances were crowd magnets drawing hundreds of people each performance.  And I had the honor of watching him perform every night.  

I learned a lot during my time with Tommy both on stage and off.  During our run together I spent significant time trying to talk him into abandoning the Elvis show and record his own work.  He had a magnificent voice I argued so why not?  But he always waved me off telling me he was happy doing what he did and he didn't need anymore than that.  Tommy Ray's humility always came through.  He wasn't trying to be the second coming of Elvis or a local hero.  With respect for the King's body of work, Tommy wanted people to see what it was like to have seen the King himself - and he gave his all to show you.  

Though it has been years since I saw Tommy last I think about him often.  He unsuspectingly gave me many gifts and for that I am eternally grateful to him.  Rest in peace brother.  The world is a little poorer with your passing. 

Tina Rasner Thurman

March 14, 2021 8:58 AM

I remember Tommy well from the 70’s and listening to his music. I babysat for his and Denise’s first child. RIP Tommy. The music in Heaven will be even better!

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