Thomas H. Gooch died November 18, 2007 at home in Eureka. He was a native of Canby, Ore.
Thomas H. Gooch enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II, serving as an electrician. He also served as projectionist, showing films to disabled veterans in the Shoemaker Naval Hospital. His electronics training enabled him to own a television and radio repair business. Tom also served as a deputy sheriff in Del Norte County during the floods of 1964 and the andquot;bigandquot; tsunami, also in 1964.
He enjoyed amateur radio, under the call W6HHP, and was formerly active in the Humboldt Amateur Radio Club and the North Coast Repeater Association. Tom had also been a member of the Masonic Lodge in Crescent City. He taught popular classes in telescope making and electronics for Amateur Radio at College of the Redwoods. He developed a passion for photography after his fourth grade teacher, Bessie Robinson, gave him a brownie camera.
His photography has been displayed locally and several of his photographs have made their way to other countries. He is most widely known for his andquot;Smiling Piano,andquot; taken with a pinhole camera he made from a juice can. He has copied many historical photographs for the Humboldt County Historical Society.
All in all, his family remembers him most for his love of family. To him, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were the highlight of his life.
He is survived by Lou Thunen Gooch, his wife of 61 years; sons Thomas C. Gooch (Marlene), Bennett Gooch (Joyce); daughters Sunny Falling-rain, Gayle Nadeau (Jim), Jody Clayburn (Richard), and Mary Mello (Emo).
He has 14 grandchildren: Ryan Albrecht, Amber Hoffman, Debbie Dodge, Sean Gooch, Micheline Fairbank, Bennett Gooch Jr., Jennifer Weaver, Bruce Meredith, Brenda May, Aimee Pedersen, Rick Clayburn, Crystal Roberts, Richard Mello, and Dominic Mello.
He is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren: Cori Meredith, Adam Dodge, Gabriel Fairbank, Bennett Gooch III, Michaela May, Daphne Pedersen, Paula and Rachel Mello and Allyson and Ashley Albrecht; nieces, Jeanette Drummond, Cheri Morningstar, and Anna McClennon, and nephews, Steven Peugh and Kenneth Peugh.
Tom Gooch was preceded in death by his parents Harry and Estelle Gooch, sisters Evelyn Reddick and May Gleason, and brother Jim Gooch; his father-in-law and mentor Charles Thunen and mother-in-law Louise Thunen.
Family and friends will celebrate Tom's life on December 28, 2007 at 1 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Hall 10th and H Streets in Eureka.
Arrangements are under the care of Pierce Mortuary, 707 H St., Eureka.