THOMAS DEAN HOPPER
1936 - 2018
Thomas Dean Hopper went to be with the Lord on January 16 at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. He died from complications of a bad fall. He was 81 years old. Tom was born on August 28, 1936 in Leavenworth, Washington, to James Oscar and Gladys Susan (Sparks) Hopper. Tom's father was the Superintendent of Maintenance for the State Highway Department over all of the heavy duty highway equipment on Steven's Pass.
The family moved to Yakima, Washington when Tom was six months old. He attended Yakima Public Grade Schools and when he was a fifth grader he was selected as a member of the Yakima All-City 5th Grade Boys Choir. He belonged to the YMCA and the Boy Scouts. Tom attended Franklin Junior High School and Yakima Senior High School and graduated in the Class of 1954. He was a member of Advanced Choir at Yakima High.
Tom joined the US Navy at age 17 and served aboard the Destroyer USS Cowell - which was guarding the Strait of Formosa after the Korean Truce. He mustered out of the Navy in 1957 as an Electrician First Class. After the Navy Tom attended Yakima Valley Junior College his Freshman Year and there he met his future Bride, Marilyn Myrna Searle. Tom was the Treasurer of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at YVJC. While at Yakima Valley Junior College, Tom was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the most prestigious Honor Society for Community Colleges. He then attended the University of Washington on the GI Bill his Sophomore, Junior and part of his Senior Year. While attending the U of W, Tom resided at the University Christian Union Men's House.
Tom and Marilyn were married in Yakima in December of 1960 and they made their home in Seattle. Tom began his first career job with The Burroughs Corporation in 1961 as an Electronics Field Engineer. In the early 1970s he left Burroughs and formed his own successful Computer Sales and Service company in Seattle.
Tom was the proud father of a son and two daughters. In 1976 Tom and his family moved to Portland where he was the Part-Owner and Manager of the Raleigh Hills Sambo's Restaurant. He had always thought he would enjoy operating a restaurant and he did enjoy the restaurant business, but after one year running a 24-7 Sambo's he had had enough of that hectic schedule. He decided to return to The Burroughs Corporation at the Portland Branch. In time Burroughs changed the name of the Company to Unisys Corporation and Tom worked there until 1991.
Before starting a new job, Tom completed his Senior Year of college at Portland State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. He especially enjoyed classes in Geology. In 1993 Tom began a new career with Laughlin-Wilt, an electronic manufacturing company in Beaverton. In 2003 the company under new ownership became Vanguard EMS. Tom was a person who never retired and he continued to work as a Senior Test Technician up until the day before he took the bad fall. Tom greatly enjoyed his job with Vanguard EMS and especially enjoyed the camaraderie of his friends there. A "Celebration of Tom's Life" was held at Vanguard EMS on January 25th.
Tom was a man known for his wonderful sense of humor and for his personal integrity, his love for the Lord, and for his ready willingness to step in to help others. In his life he enjoyed sailing on Lake Washington and in Puget Sound. He also played classical guitar and he was an accomplished woodworker. He was an avid reader and a movie buff. Tom especially enjoyed following University of Washington football, attending many games at Husky Stadium over the years with his family, which brought him great joy. Tom was often seen wearing either his Tin Can Sailor cap or his Husky cap.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents and his two older brothers, James Albert Hopper, and Charles Stanley Hopper.
Tom is survived by his loving wife Marilyn and his son Steven Dean Hopper and wife Cindy, by his daughter Concordia "Connie" Janiece Holscher, and by his daughter Kristin Kay "Peggy" McVeigh and husband Kevin. He is also survived by his five wonderful Grandchildren - Sarah Katherine, Elizabeth Lynn, William James, Spencer Thomas and Jasmine Marie.
Tom was a Volunteer Van Driver for the Shriner's Childrens Hospital and shortly after Thanksgiving he was given the happy task by Shriner's to pick up a donation from a local company of 1,500 Teddy Bears for the young patients at Shriner's for over the Christmas Holidays and for as long as the supply of Teddy Bears holds out. That delivery to Shriner's really made Tom's day!
If desired, donations may be made in Tom's name to the Shriner's Childrens Hospital.
To send flowers to Thomas' family, please visit our floral section.