Thomas Andrew Pigsley, devoted son, brother, grandson, nephew, uncle and cousin, passed away suddenly on June 21, 2016. He was 54.
Born August 23, 1961, in Agana, Guam, Tom was born into a Navy family on the move. From Guam, the family lived in San Diego, Vincennes, Indiana and Rota, Spain before his dad Jay’s retirement from the Navy in 1971. The family finally settled for good in Keizer where Tom graduated from McNary High School in 1980.
Tom’s greatest love was having a camera in his hand. His talent was evident starting in high school, and he enjoyed sharing and teaching others. Creating and entering award-winning images annually at the Oregon State Fair also brought him great joy. He knew a good picture when he saw one.
The small-town feel of Keizer was a perfect fit for Tom. He loved meeting up with friends during Keizerfest every year and his many walks along River Road always brought honks and waves from friends. He had a kind word and warm smile for everyone.
Tom faced many challenges in his life, but always battled back. Among them, a terrible fall along the Santiam River in 1996 which left him severely injured. An air rescue helicopter crew navigated a difficult rescue to transport him to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. From there, it was a long and painful recovery, but Tom bounced back amazingly, thanks to the help of family and friends and his great attitude.
Tom was preceded in death by his mother Jeannie (Thwaite) Pigsley, grandfather Walt Pigsley and grandparents Roy and Muriel (Skat) Thwaite. He is survived by his father, Harlan Jay Pigsley, of Mountlake Terrace, Wash., his brothers, Doug Pigsley in Seattle and Andy Pigsley in Henrico, Va., as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Tom had many supportive aunts, uncles and cousins. The family extends a special thank you to Uncle Doug and Aunt Karen Thwaite of McMinnville, Aunt Linda and Uncle Gary Peterson of Vashon Island, Wash., and Aunt Sidney and Uncle Paul Spezza of Bend. Their love and devotion to Tom through the years is deeply appreciated. We know Tom truly cherished his family’s help.
No services are planned. A private memorial gathering will be held at a later date. Tom will be laid to rest next to his mother, grandfather and grandmother at McMinnville’s St. James Catholic Cemetery. Remembrances in Tom’s honor can be made to your favorite charity.