After a long and valiant battle, Thomas Patrick Peterson, 69, of Pukalani, Maui passed away peacefully on May 1, 2017 under the compassionate care of Hospice Maui, his dear friend and caregiver, Janet Serafica (Caring Hands Maui), and his loving family.
A Celebration of Life paddle out will be held in late fall of 2017. Details will follow soon.
Tom was born on March 17, 1948 in Sacramento, California to Donald and Regina Peterson. Tom moved to Santa Cruz, California in 1965 and graduated from Watsonville High. He attended Cabrillo Community College in Aptos, California where he met the love of his life, Deborah Raven Decker. The young couple married in 1969 shortly before Tom was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served in Korea during the Vietnam conflict. After returning home, he worked on the Santa Cruz beach as a lifeguard and later worked with California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) in Santa Cruz, starting as a landscaper and later as a tree climber. In 1974 their only son, Joshua Eric Peterson was born. In 1976 CalTrans transferred Tom and his family to Humboldt County in Northern California to be a tree climber and work in The Avenue of the Giants redwoods. After two years the family moved back to Santa Cruz where Tom took a position with University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). He worked for fifteen years with UCSC and during that time he pursued his International Arborist Certification and became the Arborist Supervisor for UCSC. In 1997 the family moved to the San Luis Obispo area, where Tom furthered his career as a Master Gardner at the Hearst Castle. He later became Grounds Supervisor at Allan Hancock Community College, and finished his professional career as Campus Arborist for CalPoly State University, San Luis Obispo. In late 2001, Tom and Deborah packed up their lives and moved to Maui to follow Deborah’s professional career. It wasn’t a hard decision for them, their son Josh was living in Kauai and they had been vacationing in the islands frequently for the prior 20 years. Tom continued to share his landscaping expertise and love of the garden with family and friends on Maui while enjoying his love of the ocean. Tom was an avid waterman. In college he played water polo and was an All American swimmer. He was an avid surfer all of his life and he and Deborah were active sailors in California, owning small boats and sailing the Monterey Bay. While on Maui, Ho’okipa became his second home and the friends became family. Although he spent many years in California, he carried with him from a very young age, the Aloha Spirit and the ability to “talk story” with anyone. He had a unique way of making you feel like a dear friend, even if you had just met him that day. Near and far, old and new, there was no shortage of love and fellowship in his life.
Tom leaves behind to cherish his memory, his beloved wife of 48 years, Deborah Peterson; their son Josh (Lucia) Peterson; brothers, Gary (Jan) Petersen and Dave Peterson; and many beautiful extended family and friends.
Tom asked that donations in his memory be given to your local Surfrider Foundation, Hospice Maui, or your favorite charity. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 880634, Pukalani, HI 96788