Memories of Tom – from John Aadland

Family and Friends of Thomas Pick,

My very first encounter with Tom took place when I was just 9 years old and I was told that he was a United States Army officer, which got my attention as I had never met an officer in person before, especially at the young age of 9. He came in to meet me and he was dressed in a US Army service dress uniform which was very impressive, and seeing his silver Captains bars really made an immediate positive impression with me; one in which I will never forget. He immediately made me feel at ease and it was obvious from our first meeting that he was a kind, compassionate, and caring person behind that impeccable United States Army uniform.

Growing up in the Portland suburb of West Linn, Oregon was a wonderful experience and Tom was a great role model for me, and it wasn’t until years later that I had finally realized what an indelible impact his guidance and nurturing had given me as an adult caring for my own family. As a young boy active in sports and the adventure of the great outdoors, Tom was a dad that most boys dream of having! He taught me the finer points of basketball, installing a basketball hoop over the garage and although I was a pretty good ball player, Tom could really move and taught me how to take my game to a higher level. He was also a great tennis player, and we would often spend hours together on a weekend afternoon hitting the ball, and often it was me who was beat and tired as he never seemed to want to call it a day…he had endless energy and incredible patience, which I admired dearly.

On summer weekends, one of our favorite activities was to get up before sunrise, pack the car and head out to the lake or a mountain stream up in the Mount Hood wilderness where we would cast a line hoping to catch the “big one,” which we did on occasion! But more importantly, he would teach me the ways of the world as we sat together on the shore line talking for hours about everything imaginable. Fishing together was truly a magical experience for me…not to mention the ice cream sundae we would stop for too on the way home!

Tom was also a very talented outdoors-man, and we took several backpacking trips together. On one such occasion, we were on a 3-day trek on the Pacific Crest Trail, and we actually got lost…or as I like to say as an aviator-“momentarily disorientated!” Instead of panicking, we took inventory of our position, plotted our course on the hiking maps, and made our way back on course with his wisdom of knowing how to navigate when faced with adversity. I loved adventure then, and still do today, and Tom certainly made every weekend a great adventure!

So many of the things I love to do to this day are the direct result of his guidance and nurturing for me growing up. Whether it was sports, fishing, hiking, or helping me with my homework, there was one constant–he was always there for me, no matter in good or in challenging times.

I am so very proud to have had him in my life and he will always be remembered as a true friend, father, and guiding light for me that I have carried forward to my life and my family. His legacy will live on in me forever.

God Bless,
John Franklin Aadland

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