Thomas Edward Walden, 71, passed away on November 19, 2013 at his home. We have lost a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend, who set the ultimate example of looking people in the eye and making you feel important, whether you met him once or had known him a lifetime.
Tom was born on April 12, 1942 in Bloomington, IL. He grew up on a farm in Illinois, attended Farmer City High School, then graduated from Milliken University in 1965 with a degree in Physical Education. After graduation, he began his career at Firestone Tire and Rubber. Shortly after, he was drafted in the Army, serving in Wurtzberg, Germany from October 1966 through November 1968. Returning to Firestone, Tom was transferred to Akron, OH where he had 2 life-changing events: He changed from the engineering department to begin his HR career as a college recruiter. HR was truly his calling, with his obvious love of people. Then, he met Diane, and they married on May 21, 1971.
After moves to Virginia and Illinois, a job transfer to Muskogee in 1984 brought him to Coburn Optical as VP of Human Resources. Coburn Optical was sold in 1999, but Tom and his family were firmly rooted in Oklahoma, and chose to stay. He worked as VP Human Resources at Acme Engineering until retirement in November, 2008. His "retirement" included starting HR Ventures, LLC, which allowed him freedom to do consulting work and still have time for enjoying life. He was most recently serving as HR consultant at Firstar Bank, where he was back in his element, in an office environment, seeing people every day in a community setting, and having his own checkbook.
Tom was a sports lover, playing and watching golf, football, basketball, and many others. He was quick to volunteer to coach his daughter's sports teams, and was proud to be a 4-year Kappa dad President to stay involved once they were in college. Living on the golf course was a dream come true, and he played whenever he could. Weekly football watch parties with his "hood" was also a favorite pastime. He also enjoyed having friends with boats which allowed him cruises along the Atlantic Coast, Florida Keys, Caribbean Islands, AND Grand Lake.
He was active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors for Firstar Bank, Chairman of Crossroads Hospice Charitable Foundation, longtime member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, Board and previous president of Muskogee Country Club, and Chairman of Greater Muskogee Development to name a few.
Tom was preceded in death by his father, Robert, and mother and step-father, Darlene and Delmar Thompson. He is survived by his wife, Diane; daughters Brooke George and husband Ben of Dallas, TX and Leigh Walden of Tulsa; granddaughter Malaney George; brother and wife, William and Bonnie Walden of DeWitt, IL; and sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, and cousins.