Thomas F. Guthrie

May 2,1945 - April 5, 2019

Tom Guthrie died Friday, April 5, 2019 surrounded by his loving family after a 14-year struggle against cancer and sepsis. Tom welcomed all people to his Leavenworth home, celebrated diversity and taught us all acceptance. He was patient, kind and devoted to his family and to making this world a better place.

Thomas F. Guthrie was born May, 2, 1945 in Minneapolis, Minn. to Margaret and Dr. Robert Guthrie. At Cornell University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a master’s degree in soil chemistry. In between his academic pursuits, he secured a job at Oregon State Oceanography Department in Corvallis, where he met Mary Thompson from Wenatchee, a recent graduate of Oregon State University. They were married in Wenatchee on August 3, 1968 and then accompanied Tom’s parents and siblings on an ocean liner to New Zealand. Tom assisted his father, Dr. Robert Guthrie, of the University of Buffalo, in setting up newborn screening for phenylketonuria (PKU) in New Zealand. The newlyweds then lived on a small farm in Woodinville where Tom worked for Rocket Research Corporation. Over the next decade, they introduced their three children to nature’s wonders through camping, hiking and travels through Scotland, Greece, Germany, and France. Tom earned his Ph.D. in soil science at the University of British Columbia and then worked for two years as a senior chemist at a molybdenum mine in Kitsault in northern B.C. He also managed an environmental testing lab in Vancouver, B.C. for twenty years.

The Guthries moved to Leavenworth in 2000 where they built a log home and enjoyed hosting many bird festival workshops in their natural wetland habitat. Tom worked as an environmental health specialist with the Chelan-Douglas Health District, inspecting wells, septic systems and hazardous sites. In 2008, after receiving chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, he underwent a stem cell transplant using stem cells donated by his youngest sister, Paddy. Five years later after unrelenting complications and side effects, Tom suddenly was struck with sepsis, an often-fatal blood infection. At Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, doctors amputated his lower legs and right hand in order to save his life. Tom steadfastly endured numerous health setbacks to spend one more day with his wife, children and growing tribe of grandchildren who knew him as Popi and thought his colorful leg prostheses rather cool. After his amputations, Tom’s family enjoyed trips to Hawaii where he snorkeled, sailed and went paragliding. Tom is a founding member and former president of the Leavenworth Mosquito Control District and he joined the Leavenworth Lions Club in recent years, where he helped with fundraising breakfasts. 

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mary, three children, Graeme Guthrie, Galen Guthrie (Gil) and Gilly Ward-Guthrie (Chris) and four grandchildren; Gillis, Marlen, Grifynn, and Greyson; nephews Dylan and Ian; nieces Bryn and Julia; and three sisters, Anne, Barbara (Ken), and Paddy and one brother, Jim (Diane). The family wishes to thank Dr. Geoff Richardson, Dr. Julie Smith, Dr. Scott Branch, Dr. Saba Lodhi and the caring staff at Cascade and Confluence Health who were always supportive and compassionate.

Services will be 10 a.m Saturday, April 20 at Faith Lutheran Church, 224 Benton Street, Leavenworth. To honor Tom’s life, please consider contributing to the Leavenworth Lions Club, Leukemia Lymphoma Society, registering as a stem cell donor at bethematch.org or donating blood during an American Red Cross blood drive. 

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