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Thomas Price

1943 - 2020
Thomas Price Obituary
Thomas Price
Aug. 8, 1943 - Jan. 1, 2020
Born August 8, 1943, Thomas Aubrey Price passed away in the first minutes of 2020 at the age of 76. A two-time cancer survivor, Tom succumbed to a head injury after falling outside his Orange County home.
Tom packed so much life into his 76 years. He backpacked and traveled the world, loved people and enjoyed discussions of nearly any subject, fell in love, adored his granddaughter, chased his genealogy dream of keeping his great-grandparents' stories alive, worked in a profession he loved, was an active environmentalist throughout his life, painstakingly collected the 100-year history of the Silverado and Redwood Empire Councils of the Boy Scouts of America, and put one foot in front of the other battling and beating cancer twice with dignity, integrity, and courage.
Tom was born to Lois and Aubrey Price in St. Helena, California. He spent his early years moving around northern California, from Napa to Hornbrook, before settling in Vallejo when his father got a job as a welder at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. He became a big brother when Michael was born in 1950; brother Jerry followed three years later, and the Price family was complete.
Tom was a bright, motivated student from the start, excelling in school and becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college when he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography from San Francisco State University. He was a skilled middle-distance runner, competing in track and field for Vallejo Senior High and Vallejo Junior College. He was also a committed Boy Scout, eventually earning the distinction of Eagle Scout in 1961.
Tom was a lifelong traveler, but as a young man with few financial resources, he resorted to hitchhiking on journeys across America and into Canada and Mexico. Among the highlights of those trips was a stint as a provincial mine inspector in Canada's Northwest Territories. Another early adventure put him at South Dakota's Badlands National Monument, serving as a Park Ranger, a combination of educator and conservationist seemingly made for Tom.
After completing a Master of Arts Degree (Geography) at San Francisco State, Tom leveraged his Eagle Scout award to beat 300 other applicants and land a job as a social studies teacher at Washington Junior High School in Salinas. The man was born to teach, began his career at Washington in the fall of 1969, and worked in Room 34 for the entirety of his 36-year career. Earning the distinction of Master Teacher, he mentored many new educators, asked his 10,000+ students to give him their best efforts, and in turn gave them his own. He organized and advised student groups in the areas of conservation and old-time radio, sparking interests in those fields his students never would have known they had. He engaged students in discussions of current events, always tying their work in U.S. history to what was happening in real time.
Tom became a father, another role at which he excelled, when son Kevin was born in June, 1973.
During his teaching career, Tom started a small business called Priceless Sound collecting and selling recordings of mid-20th century radio programs. He became an expert in the field and published multiple volumes, the most significant of which was Heavenly Days, the definitive history of the Fibber McGee and Molly show.
On Easter Sunday, 1992, Tom met Charlene Edwards, who would become his wife on June 26, 1993. After a brief stint living in Salinas near what had become Washington Middle School, Tom and Chari moved to Monterey, which would remain their primary residence for the duration of his life.
Tom retired from teaching in June, 2005, and soon after embarked on a 13,000-mile road trip across the United States. He visited friends and family, undertook extensive genealogical research as he traced his family's route to California, and enjoyed the country's vast natural beauty, something he'd always valued as a longtime member of the Sierra Club.
In his retirement years, Tom enjoyed his freedom, traveling to Europe on multiple occasions with Chari. He also had nightly appointments with Alex Trebek and Jeopardy!
To his great delight, Tom became a grandfather when Claire Price was born in February, 2016. He aimed to see Claire graduate from high school, and though he didn't live to witness that milestone, he made the most of his time with his granddaughter, playing with her, doting on her, and, of course, teaching her at every opportunity. Claire always enjoyed her time with Grandpa Tom.
Tom Price is survived by wife Charlene, son Kevin (Roslyn), granddaughter Claire, brother Jerry (Nancy), nephew Casey, and father- and mother-in-law Norm and Pat Edwards.
He was preceded in death by his mother Lois, father Aubrey, brother Mike, and nephew Aaron.
A celebration of Tom's life will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at Cementario El Encinal, 798 Fremont Street, Monterey, CA 93940.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that loved ones give to the Sierra Club or the Save the Redwoods League.

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Published in The Monterey Herald on Jan. 21, 2020
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