Obituary: Thomas Eldon O’Hare Dec. 8, 1933 – June 15, 2021

THOMAS ELDON O’HARE Dec. 8, 1933 – June 15, 2021


Thomas Eldon O’Hare began his life in Milwaukee, WI and was the second of five children born to Evelyn Frances Luger and John Augustus O’Hare. After his family lived in St. Paul, Minnesota for a short period, they moved to Gallup, NM, where Tom traded his school knickers for the Levi’s that were common in the southwest in 1943.

Beginning with a year of study in a California seminary, he worked at Dunn Merchantile in Fort Defiance, AZ, learned to rebuild auto/motorcycle engines while finishing his early education in Waterflow, NM. Entering the US Air Force in 1952 through recruitment in St. Johns, AZ, he met his life long companion, Janice Marie Nelson, while stationed at Carswell AFB in Ft. Worth, Texas, and they married on September 4, 1954.

With the 307th Bomb Wing, he flew missions as an ECM Operator on B-36 ‘Peacemaker’ aircraft that took him to locations throughout North America and the Atlantic Ocean, and as a radar installation and evaluation technician with the USAF Strategic Air Command he visited locations throughout the Pacific Rim. His military career spanned 14 years and he attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant when he received the appointment for overseeing the radar installation (1964-65) on Mt. Kaala, HI, as a member of the Hawaii Air National Guard (HANG).

After leaving military service he spent the rest of his career in New Mexico while maintaining a government security clearance by working for a contractor to the Sandia National Laboratories, which then led to a twenty year career with the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Among his many career achievements, assisting physicists in developing the PINEX Image Diagnostic Tool and receiving a Distinguished Performance Award from LANL (1979) attest to his lifelong dedication to learning on science and technology topics.

In retirement, Tom and Jan built a passive solar home in Pagosa Springs, CO, where Tom offered his technical skills and knowledge to a local builder to create the ‘blower door’ test, which was used in developing part of the 5 Star Energy Rating System. They then moved to Kingman, AZ, for a few years but returned to New Mexico in 2011. During this time they shared an interest in genealogy by visiting various states to explore cemeteries, libraries and ‘touch base’ with extended family; thereby resolving a couple enigmas, renewing associations and then compiling updated binders to share with each branch of descendants.

Tom always offered assistance to family and friends, read voraciously about the cosmos and the human brain and always imbued learning as an imperative with his grandchildren and great grandchildren, or any young soul he encountered. He was a frugal and private man and would reflect on politics or economic matters, only when approached for an opinion. He also came to believe one should embrace issues addressing the common needs of all people and species, and let go of any singular faith based belief system that involves proselytization.

Tom was taken from us as a result of a short illness with metastatic cancer. He has been interred at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Angel Fire, NM, and leaves his wife of 66 years, Janice, and three children: Juli O’Hare, Donna Aldrich (Charlie) and Bryan O’Hare. He also leaves five grandchildren: Amy Christine Kamp (Will), Laura Marie Clark, Claire Merideth Porter (Nick), Eleanor Rebecca Simson (Nick) and Andrea Deezbaa O’Hare. Great grandchildren include Julianna June Kamp, Adeline Christine Kamp, Tommie Jace Clark, Jane Millicent Porter and Thadeus Finn Porter. Tom’s siblings include Louis O’Hare (deceased), John O’Hare (‘Bobbie’, deceased – Bayfield, CO), Bernadette O’Hare (deceased) and Mary ‘Ginger’ Valentine (Robert – Scottsdale, AZ).