Thomas Needham, came to Ocala and founded a company in 1889, that is still a vital part
of the local business community.
The Needham family local history, so much a part of Marion County lore, began when First
generation Thomas left England in 1888. With his wife, Maria, and their five children, Thomas was eager to begin a new life
across the Atlantic in America. The children - Mary Jane, Annie, Joseph, Maude and Edith - ranged in age from eleven months
to eleven years. All the family’s worldly goods were packed away in two pieces of luggage when they boarded the steamship
Iowa in Liverpool bound for Boston.
Thomas wasted no time looking for a job and made his way, by boat and train, to Florida, where there was a prospect of a job in
Tampa. During a layover in Ocala, he was offered and accepted a job as a plumber and sent for his family to join him. Thomas
soon started his own plumbing business, a company which has been run by four generations of Needham's since 1889 and is still
flourishing today under the ownership of 4th generation, Mike.
The Second generation Needham, William, was born in Ocala and quit school at age nine to work for his father. At the time ,
the office was located near the downtown square and father and son used a horse and wagon for getting from job to job.
one of the family’s memories is that when work was done for the day, the horse knew the way home and Thomas slept all the way.
William added the electric division to the company, which allowed the company to offer both plumbing and electric services for its
customers. William assumed operation of the company in 1924.
William’s son, Tommy, was to become the third generation of Needhams to run the company, but had
other duties to perform before he could take over the reins of Needham Plumbing - Electric. In 1942, he joined the Navy
as a Seabee.
Tommy returned from the war in 1946 to run the business in partnership with his father. When Tommy retired in 1982,
his son, Mike, became owner of the company. The company office was then located at 216 NE Fourteenth Street in
Ocala, where it remains today.
Mike Needham, the fourth generation, continues to maintain the integrity of his family’s ancestors by following two simple rules: “We do every job as if we
are doing it for ourselves;” and “We provide quality service at a fair price.” Mike prides himself on his continued loyalty to his family’s legacy and to the
families and communities of Marion County.
Mike currently serves on the Board of Directors for the North Magnolia Merchants Association, is an active member of the Ocala Elks Lodge, and
participates in the Ocala/Marion Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP). With a long, proud tradition that spans four generations since Thomas
and his family left England seeking a new life, Needham Plumbing-Electric has always been a solid contributor to the business and community
life of Ocala and Marion County. That is why it is safe to say that their work can truly “Stand the test of time.”
For additional information, or to contact Needham Plumbing-Electric for Service call 352-629-6933.