With great sorrow, we announce the death of Tom Embrey, our long time Resident Housekeeper.
Tom came to Holy Spirit Center as a retreatant in 2005, and joined the staff as our Resident Housekeeper in 2007. Tom was a quiet presence at the Center, but his influence was felt throughout our facilities. After a full and challenging life, Tom found a home and a ministry at Holy Spirit Center. He chose to spend his last years making sure that all of us, staff and guests, felt welcomed and cared for. Others might consider his work humble, but Tom knew how important it was, and performed his tasks with discipline and great love for our guests.
Tom was remarkably fit. In his early years at the Center, he rode his bicycle up and down O'Malley Road in all weather. After the acquisition of a car, his dark red Toyota could be seen at his church home, Amazing Grace Lutheran, or questing for the perfect cup of coffee or tea. In his last few years, Tom enjoyed learning how to cross-country ski and meeting the Weismanns to explore local trails. In the fall, when the rest of the staff were hanging on to the last days of summer, Tom regularly teased us by openly hoping for snow. He loved watching movies, and discussing them over lunch.
In 2014, Tom's dear friend, Patricia Dooley, was diagnosed with cancer. Tom made regular trips to Edmonton to visit with and care for her. During his last visit, Tom developed persistent back and abdominal pain. Returning home to Anchorage, he was diagnosed within weeks with end-stage pancreatic cancer. Tom died ten days later. A week after that, Tom's ashes were spread at Holy Spirit Center, on the hill between the main building and the Stations of the Cross.
His obituary, as printed in the Anchorage Dispatch News:
Tom Embrey passed peacefully on June 7, 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska. Born March 28, 1944 in Klamath Falls, Oregon, he grew up in Madera CA on a small dairy farm. He graduated Westmont College in Santa Barbara CA with a BA in English in 1967, studied at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena CA 1966-68 and obtained an MA in Counseling in 1974 from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Over the years he received many academic awards and honors.
He was honorably discharged from the US Marine Corp in 1970 with the rank of Corporal. Tom worked as a psychotherapist in Arizona and also spent time as a counselor with ecumenical communities in the USA and Canada. Since 2011 he lived at Holy Names Center in Anchorage helping out where needed. He loved the out-of-doors: backpacking, surfing, cycling and cross country skiing.
He was a connoisseur of coffee and tea with a splendid collection of special teas. He was a deeply spiritual person and spent much time in contemplation and prayer. He is predeceased by his parents Lloyd and Alma Embrey, his brother Doug Embrey and his niece Kathy Hull. He is lovingly remembered by Jean and Dave Hull, his sister and husband and by Steven and Christina Hull, his nephew and wife as well as his many dear friends in Anchorage Alaska and Edmonton Alberta.
He was a wonderful caring brother. When he was 10 years old he won the Yo-Yo Championship in our home town. From the time he was 11 years old he worked hard on the farm but made time to backpack in Yosemite with a friend. He played the clarinet in the band and was president of his high school senior class. Backpacking in the Grand Canyon was a wonderful adventure. A memorial is planned for Tuesday, July 26th at 4:00 pm at his church, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, 10955 Elmore Road, Anchorage. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Spirit Center, Anchorage, 10980 Hillside Drive, Anchorage, AK 99507 or to his church at the above address.