Thomas Coolidge Obituary

Thomas Henry Coolidge
Thomas Henry Coolidge

August 2, 1950 - October 20, 2018
Born in Fort Monmouth, NJ
Resided in Anchorage, Alaska


Thomas Henry Coolidge, 68, died at home surrounded by his family on Oct. 20, 2018.
Tom was born on Aug. 2,1950, in Ft. Monmouth, NJ, to Lyle Coolidge and Ethel Brownlie Coolidge. He graduated from Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va., in 1968. He earned bachelor's degrees in business and civil engineering from the University of Arizona, as well as a master's degree in engineering management from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). From 1972 to 1974, Tom served in the Army as a radar technician in Germany.
Tom spent 30 years with the Indian Health Service (IHS), first in Arizona on the Navajo Reservation and then in Alaska. Tom met his wife, Shelley, on the Navajo Reservation and together they moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where they were married shortly after arriving in 1981.
Tom traveled across Alaska designing and constructing water and sewer systems with the Alaska Village Safe Water Program and later IHS. He completed his career as an administrator in the IHS Alaska Area office in 2009. Tom is remembered for his gentle and effective leadership during his time with IHS.
Happily retired and training alongside his friends and fellow competitors at the Alaska Winter Stars, Tom actually got faster in his 60s. He set an age group record at Mount Marathon in 2011 and then broke his own record in 2013, becoming the first person over 60 to break 60 minutes in the historic race. He held the 60-69 age group record until 2017.
A mile wide and an inch thick, Tom did it all: hiking, biking, skiing, and sailing across Alaska. Tom used Alaska's many and unique races to test his limits and to experience this great state firsthand.
The nicest tough guy you ever met, Tom had a knack for enduring the most miserable conditions without complaint. He was a marathon runner and an endurance ski and bicycle racer. Tom skied and biked 11 Susitna 100 races, and he completed the 350 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational in 2017. Tom was a regular participant in the Alaska Mountain Runners Grand Prix: consistently running under his age at Bird Ridge and completing 27 Mount Marathon races in Seward, Alaska.
Tom gave his time to the Anchorage community in a variety of ways including coaching and volunteering. He was an assistant ski coach at Service High School from 2009 to 2014. He coached both of his daughters' youth soccer teams and spent time coaching for the Alaska Winter Stars. Tom was a dedicated volunteer for the Anchorage RunFest, serving on the race committee for 10 years.
More than anything, Tom loved spending time with his family at home or on the trails. He loved spending time outdoors with his wife, daughters, their spouses, children, and dogs. He raised his daughters to love the Alaska outdoors as much as he did and was happy to have them running in the mountains and competing along with him.
Tom's life was truly about the journey. His parting advice was simple: always be planning the next adventure. There have never been enough genuinely kind people in this world. No one can remember Tom without remarking on his kindness. He had a sharp engineer's mind and was generous beyond most people's understanding.
Tom is survived by his wife, Shelley; daughters, Rebecca (Brian) Haviland and Kelsey (Will) Boardman; granddaughters, Violet, Lucy and Rosie; sister, Lynndell (Fred) Lohman; and nephew, Shawn; sister-in-law, Peggy (Dave) Arsenault; and nephews, Sam and Michael.
A party to celebrate Tom will be held at the Kincaid Chalet, 9401 Raspberry Road, Anchorage, AK 99502, on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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Celebration of Life
Kincaid Chalet
9401 Rasberry Road
Anchorage, AK US 99502
Friday, November 9, 2018
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM