Thomas Joseph Sansom, age 54, a resident of Amanda Park, died on Jan. 17, 2017, at his home on Lake Quinault. He was born on April 5, 1962, in Redlands, Calif., to Guy J. and Karen (Harshman) Sansom.
Tom passed away peacefully in his home in Lake Quinault. He battled GIST cancer for eighteen years, spent the final days of his life surrounded by friends, family and loved ones, and his final moments being pampered and doted over by his wife and daughters.
Tom attended Central Elementary school in Hoquiam and then moved to Amanda Park where he graduated from Lake Quinault High School as an All-Star Football player. Tom married Brenda Allen in 1982. Tom and Brenda loved Quinault, and decided to set down roots and build a home on the Quinault River to raise their three daughters.
Tom was always working 2 jobs through high school at his family owned Texaco gas station, Quinault Fisheries, cutting shake blocks or loading trucks before starting in the timber industry in 1982. He was a choker setter with the honor of working under his father in law, Jim Allen, timber faller, and ended his career as a Feller Buncher machine operator for Peterson Logging out of Aberdeen. He was a proud provider with an unmatched work ethic who loved the woods. He often dropped firewood off at his friend’s houses on his way home, earning him the lesser known nickname of Firewood Fairy. Many believe that his hard work and positive attitude kept him strong and motivated throughout his battle with cancer. Tom was a jack of all trades: builder, mechanic, carpenter, plumber, electrician and so much more. Everybody who knew Tom knew they could count on him to fix their problems. He could fix anything.
Tom’s craftsman skills began as a toddler as his father’s sidekick while building homes in California. Tom’s hobbies took off as a teen winning trophies for motocross racing. He loved milling rough cut lumber to build his home, hunting, Quinault fishing derbies, sailing Hobie Cats, shrimping, boating and relaxing on hot summer days on Lake Quinault. He loved restoring his ‘67 Chevelle Super Sport, traveling to Arizona to attend the Barrett-Jackson car show, baseball spring training and horse races. Tom’s Man Cave was open to anyone who dared to enter. He spent many hours in the man cave tinkering on projects, doing chores and spending time with family and friends. He loved teaching his grandson Keagen to hand craft knives and swords, learn to use tools, cut firewood, and most importantly, how to clean up! Tom had great pride in the legacy that he shared with his wife Brenda, doing maintenance and upgrades on their vacation homes, clearing the properties of driftwood, yard work and honey do’s.
Tom was also known as Tommy Texaco and G’Dammer. He was a master fish smoker and pickler. Tom served as a volunteer in the Lake Quinault Fire Department for 25 years. His witty jokes, wisecracks and uncensored humor were appreciated by all. His ongoing joke about trying to find that voodoo doll that Brenda has hidden somewhere will never be forgotten.
Tom was fearless, especially when facing life’s most challenging moments. He put his all into battling Cancer, was willing to have any surgery, take any medicine, and advanced cancer-fighting science through his participation in four clinical trials for cancer research. His goal for doctor appointments was to give his doctors, nurses and fellow patients some cheer, to change the atmosphere from gloom to gleam. Tom befriended the staff at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Oregon Health Sciences University. They would all stop by to see Tom when he was in, and hear what funny things he had to say and to brighten their day.
Tom’s friendly and generous demeanor was his gift. He never wanted anything in return for his kindness, not even recognition. His love for his family and friends was unconditional. Some of Toms proudest moments were watching his girls excel in sports and their continuing education. There was never a game played without his inspirational pep talks. He frequently reminded his girls to always have respect, work hard, look people in the eye, have a firm handshake and toughen up!
We love you Tom, the Legend of Quinault, you will never be forgotten!
Surviving relatives include his wife, Brenda of 35 years; three daughters, Kate Sansom-Gottlieb and her husband Jordan of Yakima, Kellie Sansom of Amanda Park and Karli Sansom of Hoquiam; a sister, Pat Sansom of Tumwater and grandchildren, Maya Gottlieb, Keagen Billie-Sansom and Baby Gottlieb, due in April. A sister, Susan Sansom-Bertrand and father Guy Jerome Sansom (Jerry) died previously.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Noon, at Lake Quinault High School gymnasium with lunch and an open mic. The family asked that you come with memories of Tom to share.
Memorial donations can be made to:
Lake Quinault Fire Department 6108 US-101, Amanda Park, WA 98526
OHSU Foundation — GIST Cancer Research Fund – In memory of Thomas Sansom – 1121 SW Salmon St. Portland, OR 97205
Cremation arrangements are by the Coleman Mortuary in Hoquiam.
Please take a moment to record your thoughts for the family by signing the on-line register at www.colemanmortuary.net.