AMerican Veteran 11

William Thomas Washburn

July 2, 1935 ~ December 2, 2020 (age 85)


William Thomas Washburn was born July 2, 1935, to Ellis William Washburn and Lola Jean Rucker Washburn in Willits, CA. He was preceded in death in 1997 by his first wife, Mary JoAn Ray Washburn, and is survived by his wife Ruth Allyson Martin Washburn and his sisters Doreen (Frank) Villalon and Linda Carden. Tom was a devoted family man and is also survived by his children Kathleen Tolman, Robert Washburn, Julianna (David) Scheaffer, David (Lilliam) Washburn, Lydia (Jared) Smout, Nathan Washburn, Elizabeth (Scott) Claflin, Jonathan (Kim Marie) Washburn, Elaine (Scott) Hardy, Tara Washburn, and Levi Washburn; by over fifty grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and by Allyson's children, Sallie Sullivan, Joshua Creel, and Julia Izzolo.

He enlisted to serve his country in the US Marine Corps and was a Korean War Veteran.

Tom loved to figure out what made things work and solve problems. He was involved in many projects that used his unique skills. He worked at Brigham Young University with his friend and mentor Jim Gamble, where they built the university's first television station. Tom spent his early career at IBM in computing and then at TRW in the US aerospace program, where he made significant contributions to satellite systems testing. He didn't care much for money or recognition; for Tom, figuring it out was the reward.

His faith was fundamental to him. He became a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints when he was about 18. He never wavered and stayed firm in his faith to the end. He did his best to teach his children and guide them along that path.

Tom and JoAn moved to Snowflake, Arizona in 1973 to raise their large family near relatives. He bought and ran Silver Creek Mill and later worked at Cholla Power Plant until his retirement. While in Snowflake, he worked behind the scenes for all of JoAn's projects: sound and lights for her musicals and plays, assisting with grant writing for the Snowflake Symphony and the museums, and his personal project Thursday Night in the Park summer concerts. Tom also served on the Snowflake Town Council.

Tom moved to Utah when he married Allyson in 1998. They moved to Provo for Allyson's work at the BYU library, and, after Allyson's retirement in 2012, they moved to St. George.

Tom died at home in St. George on December 2, 2020, attended to by his wife Allyson and his daughter Tara. His body will be laid to rest in Snowflake, AZ.

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