April 14, 1935 — August 19, 2018
A lover of politics, skiing and a good story, Tom McCullough’s most prized possession was his independence.
Tom was born in Tacoma, Washington, to Robert Nevan and Emma “Ole” McCullough.
Tom always said, “McCulloughs are tough” and “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” He was pathologically opposed to quitting anything he started, sometimes to his own detriment, especially considering his often rapid-fire decision-making.
As a young boy, he contracted polio and spent a month in the hospital. He was so determined to learn how to walk again that, once he did, the doctors used him as a model to inspire the other children.
After graduating from Enumclaw High School in 1954, Tom studied forestry at the University of Washington, paying his tuition by smoke jumping in the summer. He graduated in 1958 and moved to Oregon.
He married Edwarda Peterson in 1959. He later obtained his surveyor’s license and was a partner in McCullough Bryant Associates. One of his greatest thrills was testifying before Congress on professional matters.
In 1970, he married Karen Strand. In 1981, he was named co-surveyor of the year by the Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon. While living in Corvallis, he joined Rotary Club International and enjoyed a wide circle of friends. Tom was as elegant a skier as ever graced the slopes of Mt. Bachelor and taught his own children and many others how to ski.
In 1983, Tom decamped to the drier climes of Salt Lake City, Utah. There he eventually established Intermountain Ariel Surveying and Mapping and opened his home to exchange students from around the world.
Immensely proud of his own Scots-Irish roots, one of Tom’s fondest memories was of journeying to County Down, Northern Ireland, to sleep in the same bedroom — minus the dirt floor — his grandfather had been born in before emigrating to America.
Tom spent his later years in the high country of Park City, Utah, where he and his wife Nancy shared a home in view of the Olympic ski jump, before moving to Nashville, Tennessee to be close to family.
His last days were spent in the embrace of family before he succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease.
Tom is survived by his wife, Nancy Pearson, of Belmont, California; his sister, Margaret Lastala of Stanwood, Washington; son, Scott McCullough of Olympia, Washington; daughter, Jillyn McCullough of Nashville, Tennessee and Portland, Oregon; daughter, Kathy Elbortoukaly of Seattle; three grandchildren; four stepchildren; and five step-grandchildren.
His ashes will be dispersed in two places: from the same Washington mountain cliff where the ashes of his parents and brother Michael were scattered, and in the mountains of Utah that he and his wife Nancy so loved.