Thomas Foote Obituary – Ipswich Local News


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Thomas Foote Obituary

Dr. Thomas H. Foote, 84, died Feb. 14, 2022, at his nearly 50-year-old home in Olympia, Washington.

He had lived with declining cognition for several years, but died suddenly and unexpectedly of a stroke on Valentine’s Day.

Tom was the son of the late Dr. T. Herbert Foote and his wife, Freda Mary Cella of Framingham. He is the older brother of Peter Foote, retired Deputy Chief Constable, Ipswich, who survives him with his wife Donna Orsini Foote; niece Gabrielle Clark of Danvers and her children Cecilia and Peter; and her dear cousin Irma Crocetti Carter of Bedford, among others.

Tom is survived by his beloved wife of 35 years, Debra Janison, a native of Parma, Ohio, but now also a longtime resident of Olympia, Washington.

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Tom and Debra have two children, Michael Foote and Molly Foote, both in their early twenties and both living in western Washington State.

Other survivors include her stepfather, Richard Janison (Olmsted Township, Ohio), Karen Hurd (Missoula Mont.), Jim Janison (Olmsted Township), Ken Janison (Parma, Ohio), Joyce Pidone (Olympia, Washington), Doug Janison (Scottsdale, Arizona) and their families.

Tom graduated from St John’s Preparatory School, attended St. Michael’s College and then joined the army.

He pursued ROTC at the University of Tulsa and Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.

He was eventually sent to become third officer on the USS Assurance, a wooden minesweeper reaching the rank of junior lieutenant.

Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1960 and worked as a sportswriter for the Tulsa Tribune.

He went on to earn advanced degrees in education and earned a Doctor of Education (PhD) from Oregon State University in 1970.

He was hired as a faculty member at Evergreen State College in 1972, where he helped shape the character, philosophy, and teaching style of the new college.

He retired in 2003 when he received the Burlington Northern Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He continued to teach on campus on and off until 2016.

Tom was a proficient banjo, dobro, and guitar player, was a member of many local and regional bands, and maintained the “American Anecdotes” radio show on the campus radio station for 30 years.

He was one of the first in the country to take the study of American music (bluegrass, old-timey, country western, gospel, Cajun, etc.) seriously as a university course in its own right.

Tom also enjoyed flying single-engine tail drag planes and was proficient in aerobatic maneuvers. He enjoyed bird watching and was a voyage level falconer specializing in western red-tailed falcons.

A funeral mass will be celebrated on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Tacoma, Washington. See the funeral director’s website for details on the facilities.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Tom’s memory to the Evergreen State College Foundation or any charity that honors your memory of him.

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