Thomas Harry St. John died peacefully on June 8, 2015, while sitting on the deck of his home watching the sunset. He was born Aug. 8, 1932, in Wilmette, Ill., to parents William and Jean (Pierce) St. John. His mother died when Tom was 6 years old and Tom learned the value of independence that would serve him well throughout his life.
Tom joined the Navy in 1950 and served during the Korean War. He was a sonar operator aboard the ships USS Meredith DD 890, USS Earl K. Olsen DE 765, and USS Redpoll AMS 57. Tom was trained in other areas as well, and it was not unusual for him to take the helm from time to time. He was also a boxer for the Navy and won several bouts. Throughout the remainder of his life, Tom took great pride in having served in the Navy. He never hid the tears that came when he heard Anchors Aweigh or the Navy Hymn.
Following the war, in 1954, Tom moved to California where he became a member of the Teamsters and drove trucks for 52 years.
Tom met Marla Redding when they both sang in the choir at the United Methodist Church in Wrightwood, Calif. They married in 1980 and just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on May 17, 2015.
Tom put his wife through chiropractic school and following her graduation they went in search of a practice to buy. They were delighted to find Hood River and took over the business in 1992. They have lived in Mosier and Bingen before moving to Parkdale.
With that move, Tom retired from trucking and moved into his hobby of woodworking. He was talented in both fine hand-crafted items such as fountain pens, candle holders and antler earrings to heavy construction. Tom could be found helping friends with a variety of projects such as replacing dry-rot beams or repairing antique rocking chairs.
When Marla was between office workers, she asked Tom if he could come in to the office “a couple of days” and so began 15 years of Tom serving as the friendly face of the front office at Hood River Chiropractic Center. He loved to visit with people, which was the saving grace that allowed this active man to be willing to sit at a desk for hours in a day.
Tom loved animals and had a soft spot for rescue dogs. Most of the dogs were constant companions, even having their own special spot in the office.
Tom is survived by his wife, Marla. He is also survived by daughters Jean Douglas and Tommi Charlene Crohen, sons Brit, Ken, and Chris, all of New York state, and son Richey of California.
A memorial service for Tom will be held at the Riverside Community Church at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 26. Memorials may be given to Home At Last pet rescue in The Dalles.
Condolences are being received online.
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