Tom Joldersma died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, on August 11, 2020. He endured, with grace, Parkinson’s Disease for 14 years and Lewy Body Dementia for five. Tom was born on June 10, 1940, the second of six children born to Gary and Agnes (Zwier) Joldersma in Holland, Michigan.

Graduating from Calvin College in 1962, Tom went on to earn a Ph.D. in Elementary Particle Physics from Ohio University in 1965. He did research at Brookhaven National Laboratory and postdoctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, during which Tom used one of the first particle accelerators at CERN in Geneva. He hoped that by studying and doing research on the smallest particles he would learn about the nature of reality. Tom worked during the late 1960s and early 70’s with the War Resisters League to help end the Vietnam war while teaching astronomy and ethics in science at San Francisco State University.

During this time he was also building a geodesic dome in Northern California where he met and married his wife Samara Moreland.  Attempting to heal from the divisiveness of the Vietnam war, they became landed immigrants in Canada with their two young sons, Paul and Jonah, and went on a homesteading adventure off the coast of North Vancouver Island. In 1977 they returned to the USA where Damien was born that year and Benjamin born in 1978.

Tom worked in the Aerospace industry for over 40 years designing rocket navigation systems and high tech gear for satellites and the Space Shuttle. He worked on several NATO assignments which allowed him to fulfill one of his dreams: bringing his family to Europe to live in Belgium for five years and England also for five years. He designed and built, with his family, two more family homes, on Vashon Island and later, on Steamboat Peninsula near Olympia, WA.

Tom was a sincere spiritual seeker, a lifelong meditator. He was a cherished husband and father who believed as much in having fun as in education. He was a father who dressed up as a magician for parties and games he organized, as well as treasure hunts. He was a kind and gentle person who will be missed and held forever in the hearts of his wife Samara, his sons Paul (m. Jenny Atuesta-Rodriguez), Jonah, Damien (m. Rie Ando), Benjamin (m. Nicole Bradford), and grandchildren Jackson, Kate, Vivienne, Aiden, Desmond, Melek, and Bernadette.

A memorial service will be held for Tom at the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation when we can safely gather again.  Internment of Tom’s ashes will be in their Columbarium following the memorial service.

Please send memorial contributions to the Brighter Days Adult Day Program at the Lacey Senior Center or the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation.  Heartfelt appreciation to Assured Hospice for the loving care received.

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