About Thomas Lawrence Harper
Susan’s beloved husband, Thomas Lawrence Harper, was born on May 2, 1943 and passed away on March 2, 2011. She writes:
“I was blessed to have him in my life. We all were. He not only took me on, but two little boys and an extended family that eventually included having my parents live with us. So in a matter of two years, Tom went from living alone, save for a few barn cats and several sheep, to having a wife, four children (two we adopted from Russia) and my mom and dad all under one roof.
Tom was born and raised Catholic, including having a Catholic education in Salinas, California. He showed his brilliance in science and math at a young age and was admitted to the Berkeley School of Engineering upon graduation from high school. From there, he received a full scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he completed his Masters Degree and then his PhD in Nuclear Engineering in 1968. He also married and had a daughter. Tom moved his family back to Livermore, California, to accept a position at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His career soared but their marriage did not.
Tom had been single for 16 years when I met him. Very casually at first, but then we found we had so much in common. After shying away from church for many years, he was drawn to Valley Christian Center because the teachings appealed to him on an intellectual level. I was involved in the Music Program at the time and Tom was 100% supportive. He attended every concert and cheered all of us on. Although Church music wasn’t, as he would put it, ‘his cup of tea’, he made it clear that it was the future generations that mattered.
Tom tutored math students at the high school and spent many evenings with our children helping them in their education. He always instructed them to prepare for the future — spiritually, emotionally, and physically. He took us all on many hikes. Tom’s faith was cemented in what he saw in nature.
Although, as a scientist, Tom had many questions regarding the Christian Faith, his faith rested in Christ as the only message that offered hope. He was always happy, loving, smiling, and had the most engaging sense of humor. We each miss him every day. Every memory brings a smile to my face.”