Thomas J. Sunderland, 45, of Bozeman, passed away Saturday, Dec. 1, 2007. He had been admitted to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital on Wednesday, Nov. 28, after breaking his leg. Surgery on his leg was successful and he was scheduled to return home when he died early Saturday morning of natural causes unrelated to the surgery.
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Tom was born Dec. 4, 1961, in Kansas City, Mo., to Marvin and Jane (Oliver) Sunderland, both natives of Bozeman. He grew up in Kansas City North where he was active in athletics and Scouting. At Northgate Junior High he set a school record for the long jump that still stands. At North Kansas City High School (Class of 1980) he lettered in track and basketball, and he also achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He received an associate arts degree from Maple Woods Community College and a bachelor's degree in geological engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla.
Tom worked as a consulting geological engineer, primarily on environmental remediation projects and for the U.S. Department of Interior. His work took him to many remote and interesting locations around the Western U.S. and Alaska, including the search and recovery efforts for the Space Shuttle Columbia.
He met Brenda Winchester on a plane in May 1995. They were married in August 1996 in Lakewood, Colo., where their two boys, Nolan and Nick, were born. The family returned to Bozeman in 2005 so Tom could share his fond memories of the valley and canyon with his boys as they grew.
Tom had a great love of nature and respect for the environment. He loved taking his boys camping, swimming and fishing, and especially enjoyed spending time at the family cabin in the Gallatin Canyon. Other interests included playing golf and basketball and coaching his son's basketball team. He was a devoted father and loving husband who will be greatly missed. Our lives will never be the same.
Tom was preceded in death by his father, Marvin and his mother-in-law, Yvonne Winchester.
Survivors include his wife, Brenda and sons, Nolan and Nick of the family home; mother, Jane Sunderland of North Kansas City, Mo.; brothers, Dan Sunderland of Kansas City, Mo., and Jeff (Mandy) Sunderland of Danville, Calif.; sisters, Susan (Kevin) Hollingshead of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Dianne (JD) Painter of Durango, Colo.; brothers-in-law, Scott (Jennifer) Winchester of Westchester, Pa., and Nick (Renee) Winchester of Gilbert, Ariz.; nieces and nephews, Kyle and Alexis Hollingshead, Michael and Irene Sunderland, Brandon, Courtney, Blake and Cole Winchester, Kyle and Tristan Winchester; and father-in-law, John Winchester of Topeka, Kan.
Tom was cremated according to his wishes. A celebration of his life will be held for family and friends next summer in Bozeman.
Memorials in his name may be made to a charity of your choice.
Condolences to the family may be sent to www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Dec. 7 to Dec. 9, 2007