Thomas Richard Elfers MBA ’75 grew up in Pasadena, California, and graduated from La Salle High School. He attended Pasadena City College for two years before transferring to UCLA in 1966. He joined the U.S. Navel Reserve in 1967 and graduated from UCLA in 1968 with a B.S. in business administration. Tom married his high school sweetheart, Karen, in June 1968, and in August he left for the Naval Officer’s Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island, which he completed in December 1968. As all young officers do, Tom filled out his “Dream List” for assignment. Having been married for only six weeks prior to leaving for OCS, Tom was lonely and put “Accompanied Shore Duty Anywhere in the World.” That proved to be a life-hanging decision, as he was assigned to CINCPACFLT (Commander-in-hief Pacific Fleet) located in an underground computer installation on Oahu. Thus began a lifelong love for the magical islands of Hawaii. Prior to leaving for Oahu, Tom and Karen drove across the country in the dead of winter from Santa Monica, California, to the Washington D.C. Navy Yard in January 1969. These two transplanted Southern Californians spent a very cold winter shivering together while Tom completed additional training. In April 1969, Tom and Karen arrived on Oahu. Tom was promoted to lieutenant in 1971 and received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1972. Upon his discharge, he was hired by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, where he worked for four years. During that time, he took advantage of the GI Bill and completed his MBA at SCU in December 1975. Wanting to take advantage of his newly acquired MBA, Tom answered an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle for a systems analyst job with Simpson Timber Company, located in Arcata, California. Not knowing where Arcata was, Tom had to look it up on a map. Karen was relieved to learn that Arcata had a university, where she could continue her education for her teaching credential. Tom was offered the job and began his career with Simpson in March 1976. Two months later, Karen and their children joined Tom in Arcata in the house that was home for the next 40 years. After working for several years in Simpson’s accounting department, Tom was promoted to controller, the role he held until his retirement in 2008. In one of the many reorganizations the company went through during Tom’s career, one of his more interesting responsibilities was “mayor of Samoa,” when the company acquired the town of Samoa in the acquisition of Pacific Lumber Company. Tom’s passion was sailing, which he learned how to do while living in Hawaii. Karen gave him a used dinghy (Kestrel) as an anniversary present in 1981. He spent many happy weekends sailing his little boat at Big Lagoon with his kids as crew, racing on Humboldt Bay as a member of the Humboldt Yacht Club (HYC), and often racing in the Memorial Day Regatta at Whiskeytown Lake near Redding, California. In 1995, he upgraded his boat to a San Juan 7.7, the “Bonny Blue,” and continued to race regularly with HYC for nearly 20 more years. Tom served as commodore of HYC from 2005 to 2007 and was awarded lifetime membership after his tenure. The couple moved to Cloverdale, California in 2015 for the usual reasons: the house and yard were too big, and they wanted to be closer to their kids and grandkids who live in the Bay Area. To boot, the warmer, drier air of Sonoma County and all of its vineyards had been a big attraction for several years. Tom passed away on Feb. 21, 2018, in Cloverdale, after a committed and courageous two-year effort to overcome metastasized prostate cancer. He was 71. Tom was a quiet, intelligent, and humble man. Though he was a man of few words, he always had a snappy quip ready for any occasion. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather who put his family above everything else. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Karen, and his children, Gwendolyn Guerra and Tim Elfers, their spouses, and his two grandchildren.

08 Nov 2018