HomeObituariesMerrill “Tom” Thomas Spalding

Merrill “Tom” Thomas Spalding

Feb. 22, 1945-June 12, 2017

Merrill Thomas Spalding
Merrill Thomas Spalding

Friends and family will gather Friday, June 23, to say farewell and to celebrate the life of a beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, Tom Spalding. Tom was a resident of La Cañada Flintridge for the past 43 years and passed away at the age of 72 on June 12.
Tom was born on Feb. 22, 1945, in Palo Alto, California. He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1962, earned his bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University in 1966, and then attended Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., where he earned a master’s degree in Sino/Soviet relations. This choice stemmed from his beloved father’s career as a history professor at Stanford.
After completing his education, he began his career as an international banker with Bank of America in San Francisco. This is where he met his wife of 47 years, Karen Brisa. Soon after their marriage in 1970, Tom made a career change into the insurance industry, which became his occupation for the remainder of his life. This career change gave Tom and Karen the opportunity to move to the East Coast where they welcomed their first son, Arthur, in 1971. In 1974, four months after their second son, Jonathan, was born they returned to the West Coast, where they began their permanent residency in La Cañada Flintridge.
Tom will be remembered for his great sense of humor, his passion for traveling, his love of sports and his wealth of knowledge which spanned many areas — he was a history buff and a trivia expert.
After multiple vacations in Cabo San Lucas and Aruba when Tom turned 50, he made a change in his lifestyle, deciding he wanted to travel more. This included many cruises with Karen and friends to various locations, including the Panama Canal, Australia/New Zealand, Normandy, the Black Sea and Russia. He enjoyed attending sporting events with his children, with some of the most memorable being the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Super Bowl XXVII at the Rose Bowl, and the NCAA college basketball Final Four in New Orleans in 2003. Tom also was involved in coaching his children in various sports, including baseball and soccer.
One of Tom’s greatest pleasures in recent years was spending time with his four grandchildren. No matter what was on his plate, he was willing to spend as much time as he could with them. He attended as many activities as possible, including Little League games, basketball games, play performances, awards ceremonies and other special events. “Tom Tom” was a constant presence in his grandchildren’s lives.
Tom is survived by his wife, Karen, his son and daughter-in-law, Arthur and Arin Spalding, and his son Jonathan Spalding. He is also survived by his loving grandchildren: Jackson, Oliver, Isabella and Sofia Spalding. He was preceded in death by his father, Merrill TenBroeck Spalding; his mother, Clara Smith Spalding; and his brother, Michael Spalding.
A memorial service is planned for Friday, June 23, at 2 p.m. at La Cañada Presbyterian Church, with a reception immediately following.
Any kind acts of charity may be made to USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation, or to any organization of your choice:
In Memory of Tom Spalding for the ICU
1812 Verdugo Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91214


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