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Thomas F. Grace of Santa Ynez Valley, 1950-2015

Thomas F. Grace

Thomas F. Grace, a 31-year resident of the Santa Ynez Valley, peacefully passed on Oct. 7, 2015, with family members by his side. Tom had waged a brief but valiant fight with cancer.

Tom was born on Jan. 10, 1950, to Elaine Mettler and Thomas Grace in Riverside, California.

Following his graduation from high school, Tom enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and served in Vietnam. When his service was completed, he began attending college and graduated from Cal Poly, SLO with a bachelor of science degree.

Tom was hired by the former Santa Barbara Research Center (now owned by Raytheon) in 1980, where he met his future wife, Sherry. He worked in the Human Resources Department for 15 years, where he facilitated the hiring of over 1,000 employees.

During this time, Tom developed an aptitude for computer systems. He moved to SBRC’s IT Department, and continued in this field for the remainder of his career spanning over 35 years.

At the time of his death, Tom was employed by AT&T as manager of network services, assigned to the Raytheon account in support of data and voice network systems for Raytheon North America.

Tom had three passions in life. The first was his devotion to his family. He was a loving and generous husband and father, always able to give a kind word, hug and kiss.

He so enjoyed family reunions and get-togethers, attending annual reunions in the Yosemite area, where playing horseshoes and drinking beer was the order of the day, and boating trips to lakes in northern California. All the family members loved his wry humor and witty personality.

Tom’s second passion was his work. He so looked forward to tackling the challenges presented to him. He made every effort to support his management by providing necessary information and offering suggestions to solve problems.

Tom believed it was equally important to provide guidance, support and encouragement to his coworkers to attain new capabilities and learn additional procedures. Many of Tom’s coworkers have said that Tom was the best boss they had ever had.

Tom’s third passion was his love of the great outdoors. When younger, he and friends often backpacked into the High Sierras.

After he and Sherry married, they frequently went camping and fishing locally and in California’s gold country. Later, after the children came along, vacations involved road trips, when Tom relished exploring some 17 national parks and monuments with his family.

Tom was preceded in death by his mother and father, brothers Steve Miller and Gerald Grace.

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Sherry of Santa Ynez; daughters, Julie Grace of Sinclair, Wyoming, and Dana Grace of Santa Ynez.

He is also survived by his sister, Nadean McGee of Lincoln, California; brother-in-law Rick Slack of Santa Ynez; sister-in-law Madge Kyler and husband Jeff of Oakdale, California; sister-in-law Sandra Grace of Oregon, along with many cousins, nieces and nephews.

The Grace family thanks the doctors, nurses and staffs at Sansum Clinic and Cottage Hospital for their dedicated attention and care to Tom. We also thank the Serenity House in Santa Barbara for providing wonderful care and comfort to Tom and family during his final days.

Memorial services for Tom will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 26 at Loper Funeral Chapel, Ballard Country Church in Ballard, 2465 Baseline Ave. Solvang, with interment to follow at Oak Hill Cemetery.

The Grace Family would suggest that any charitable donations be made to Visiting Nurse and Hospice Foundation, 509 E. Montecito St. Suite 200, Santa Barbara, California 93103, with contributions directed to Serenity House as a memorial gift in the name of Thomas Grace.

Arrangements are under the direction of Loper Funeral Chapel.

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