Once there was a long tall handsome boy born to Frank and Patty J. Oliver on August 13, 1926. They named him Thomas. This boy went to war and learned to fly. He had a passion for mountains, valleys, rivers and streams. His feet fit best in ski boots, not dress shoes. Skiing his mountains was close to flying. As a man of service, for 40 years he skied the mountains and rescued lost or wounded skiers. On a ski trip he met Alice Soule. For the next 63 years they were in love. Along the way Tom paid the bills by being a man of steel, working for PDM. Tom and Alice produced four long tall handsome boys. Boys who would grow like their Pop into men of service. Each different but the same.Like their father, from the Sierras to the Pacific,made friends to cherish. The boys married and added grandchildren to the clan. For 63 years the family thrived and grew, then they lost Alice. Pop was devastated. As the grief subsided he decided on one more adventure to honor the life of the woman he loved. This December,with a son and two close family members, he boarded a plane to fly one last time, to a place where he could walk in the footprints of Darwin, a place of mystery and beauty. He was strong again, he smiled at the mornings, he made friends in this tiny spot on the Equator. He thought of Alice every day and he knew she was on his shoulder. He came home; his noble heart and lusty lungs grew tired. Family and friends would gather to watch and pray. To remember and tell his story. Deep in the dark of midnight on January 12, they would say good-bye. Now he's with his one true love, and with the God he talked to every night. His sons carry a legacy to be envied. RIP Thomas Oliver, yours was a remarkable life.He leaves behind sons and daughters:Kent (Debra) Oliver, Scott (Jayne) Oliver, Matthew (Teresa) Oliver, and Randal (Alyssa) Oliver. Granddaughters: Ashley Foye, Lauren Estrada, Rebekah Oliver, Elizabeth Oliver, Samantha Oliver, and grandson Jason De Cou. The great-grandbabies will also miss their Papa Tom.
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A celebration of Tom's life will be held on Saturday, February 2nd, 11 am, at Bethel Open Bible Church,760 S. Ham Lane, in Lodi.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2, 2013