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Thomas More Kingkade

11/08/1958 - 06/23/2023
Service Date: 10/07/2023
Service Time: 10:30 am
Service Location: Two Rivers Church, 326 E. Guadalupe Rd. Gilbert, AZ 85234

Thomas More Kingkade, a man with an amazing legacy, passed away peacefully, at age 64, on Friday late afternoon, June 23rd, 2023 in Chandler, Arizona. Tom was surrounded by his beloved wife Vera Kingkade, their only son Oliver Kingkade, his sister-in-law Sandra Alex, and his friend and Oliver’s golf coach, Scott Longanecker.

In the words of his son, “A man with great courage, who did not fear any of the outcomes of life, and was always ten steps ahead in anything.”

The morning before his passing, Tom received at home a couple and their little son who were very close and dear to him, two members of Oliver’s golf team, who came to pray for him, as well as calls from his beloved family and friends.

Tom, the sixth of eight children, was born on November 8, 1958, to Donald and Marita Kingkade, in Oskaloosa, IA. At the young age of 8 years old, he was already an independent entrepreneur, running his paper route while going to school and being at top of his class. At age 16, Tom left home to pursue his own path. During this time, he received the Lord Jesus Christ in his heart, an event that would alter the course of his life forever.

After living in Kalona, IA for a brief season, Tom moved to Yakima, Washington, in 1978. There he obtained his bachelor’s degree in geology while working at a friend’s orchard. In 1981, Tom went to live in Santa Barbara, where he got a job at Raytheon Technologies, and finished his Masters of Science in Systems Management.

Another transition was moving to San Diego, where he worked for NASA and the U.S. Air Force, managed and toured the U.S. with Mindshift, his church’s worship band, and produced plays for which he composed original songs, involving many people from the church, young and old. This was Tom’s vocation and passion. As a volunteer, he was able to move many hearts through his art.

But San Diego was not yet his final destination. In 1999, Tom moved to Brasil to marry the love of his life, Vera. For 19 years, they resided in Rio de Janeiro with their son Oliver, and later his mother-in-law.

Several times Tom, as a software management consultant, would fly from Brazil for work to various parts of the world, and would often bring his family to some of these places. Having family around him was an essential condition for success.

However, in one of those trips for a job in New York, Tom was grateful that his wife did not accompany him. It was the morning of September 11, 2001, when he saw those airplanes hit the two towers, from the building adjacent to the South tower. That tragic day was remembered in detail during many of his conversations as he remembered his miraculous escape and how he helped many others exit the building and the area, before and while the towers collapsed.

As an avid learner, Tom mastered the Spanish and Portuguese languages, for his work demands in South and Latin America as well as his life in Brazil. In 2005, he received a Certificate of Appreciation for helping many companies solve difficult issues, which made him a most sought-after consultant.

As if all of the above were not enough, Tom decided to pursue his studies in theology and obtained his Maters of Divinity in 2015, with honors and marks of distinction.

Two words describe Tom: life and joy. He was full of life and always joyful. His constant anticipation of outcomes and brilliant intellect drove all of his pursuits. He loved having a good conversation and getting to know people. Tom was driven, and not bashful to speak the truth. In whatever subject he immersed himself, he would first learn the minimal details, so he would have that knowledge ahead of time!

For instance, instead of baseball or American football, Tom chose to teach Oliver to play golf, an unpopular sport in Brasil, and be his golf buddy. He found a very small golf course in Brazil, close to his house, and almost every Saturday, would take Oliver to play. As soon as his wife retired, Tom found an amazing job at Wells Fargo bank, and moved his family from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil to Gilbert, Arizona so Oliver could obtain his citizenship. Tom’s greatest joy continued to be in playing golf with his son, but now in a place where golf was not only popular but could become a professional career. Once again, ahead of his time, Tom created a golf legacy for his American-Brazilian family.

This move to America not only provided an opportunity for Oliver to obtain a better education and play golf, but it brought Tom closer to his family. His brothers and sisters were always in his heart, but now, no longer separated by an ocean, he had a chance to be closer than ever to his older brother Dan, his older sister Shelly, his middle brother Joe, his younger brother Jerry and his little sister Jane.

The Kingkade’s family DNA, coming from the Northwestern part of Europe, was enough to spark interest to talk about Ireland and Scotland, places he did not get to go, but held dear in his heart.

As a most sought-after consultant, Tom continued to provide innovative solutions at his last job at Wells Fargo. According to his friends and colleagues, he was very fun to work with, always supportive of them, creating a non-stress and enjoyable environment.

For most of his life, Tom was a foodie, loving gourmet food and good wine. Churrasco, fruits, and snacks were part of his daily life. He was a good husband and a good father. His canine companion T´Challa late in life was “daddy’s” good friend.

In terms of his spiritual life, Tom never abandoned the teachings of Christ since that encounter at age 16. He was always active in his church, contributing with his music gift during services, and developed the English Course and taught at Colabore, a Christian School in Brazil. He was a principled man of integrity always in search of the truth.

In his final years, he deeply contemplated his faith, made peace with God and men, and cemented further his beliefs in his savior Jesus Christ.

Tom is preceded in death by his father Donald, his mother Marita, his brother Tony and his sister Katie. He is survived by his wife Vera, his son Oliver, his brothers Dan, Joe, and Jerry, and sisters Shelly and Jane.

On October 7, 2023 at 10:30a, at Two Rivers Church, 326 E. Guadalupe Rd. Gilbert, AZ 85234, we will be hosting a memorial service for Thomas More Kingkade.



Arrangements by Bunker’s Garden Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.


  • Bruce and I have known Tom a very long time. We will miss him terribly. Tom was a genius in his ability to write songs and plays that brought the Bible to life in a fun understandable way. We still sing some of the songs.

    Bruce and I are so thankful for the many recent times Tom, Vera and Ollie would come spend time with us and our family.

    He fought hard the last couple of years and he was always so positive and full of joy. Once he was sitting in our living room and started singing a love song to Vera. Vera and Ollie were truly his delight. He was so proud of Ollie.

    He was not fearful of death but often talked about heaven with great anticipation.

    We will miss you Thomas More. Very thankful to have had you in our lives. Thankful for the relationship we now have with Vera and Ollie

  • Through his writing and directing of many play productions, Tom provided a space for myself and others that made me feel safe, accepted and supported. Some of my most favorite memories of growing up were those seasons of theater under his direction. He was a character and definitely never boring. By just being himself, he inspired me to be true to my own quirks and personality. I loved being around him as a young adult in San Diego and during many adventures to Brasil and I’m so thankful our paths crossed not long ago again in Los Angeles. He was his hilarious, unabashed, honest self and I treasure that memory of him. I’m so thankful he found his love in Vera and grateful to witness the loving and supportive father he was for Ollie. Thank you for always being you, Tom.

  • Jerry & Donnette Olson

    We had the blessing of having Tom live with us in the Yakima valley. The two themes that stand out are talking and eating. I took Tom to the Gearjammer restaurant (truck stop) where Tom’s favorite order was mashed potatoes and cherry pie! He was enthusiastic about that combination! His constant speaking gave him the nickname “Talkkade”. But my family benefitted when Tom lived with us and spent time teaching our young son new words. One evening in the car he told our son, “Look at those clouds. They look ominous. Don’t they look ominous? Can you say ominous?” I’m sure Tom was a help in jump starting our son’s vocalization and vocabulary! My most memorable moment with Tom was one night when we were working on the farm we saw the most incredible display of the northern lights that I have ever experienced. The sky was a cathedral of color and we were awestruck. We miss you Tom. And we love you Vera and Oliver!

  • Merry Diana Johannes

    You, Tom Kingkade, are more alive today than ever. I am determined that our church invisible be VISIBLE, partly so we are no more in sorrow! YOU help remove those walls on your side, and we will continue to KNOW “the other side” until we are no longer a church divided! WE LOVE YOU! The love you have created goes on forever and ever and ever. That’s the nature of God’s heart! He is love and it never stops. LOVE you, Tom, Vera and Ollie (and Challa!)

  • Andrew Briesmeister

    Life was lit up by Tom.
    I first met Tom in Iowa in 1977. We were at a meeting called the Siege. We were playing a crazy game called Mouse Hockey. Tom had pretty much written the rules and terminology for the game. Most of all Tom was the “sports caster”, he did Howard Cosell imitations better than the real Howard…what a hoot!
    Tom was at our wedding in Yakima, WA in 1978, when Deborah and I got married.
    One of our great memories was in 1980 when my 85 year old grandmother came to visit us, she and Tom spent the evening playing the piano and singing songs from the 1920s, like Good Night Irene. My grand mother often asked about that “fine young man” the rest of her life…Tom made people happy!

  • Thank you Tom.

  • Thomas More Kingkade has been my friend for decades. He could talk me into more fun with shenanigans than a leprechaun! I never forget his birthday because he didn’t let me. One year he said, “Let’s face it, if you don’t put together a party for me noone will.” I thought, “Okay, what do you want to do and who do you want me to invite?” Well, we ended up having a fancy lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado and after helping to pay for his lunch he suggested we look at the exclusive shops inside the Del. He talked me into buying a beautiful gold leafed map of the world and told it would look great in his new condo! And it did.
    Another time he said let’s go see Phantom of the Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillon. He said to ask my dad for his Cadillac for the night and I did. He said let’s go with Grant and Linda Jacobs and we did. He made reservations in Bel Aire after the Opera at one of the fanciest restaurants I’ve ever eaten at. There was a pond on site with swimming swans! It was a magical night and so much fun and culture and it makes me smile remembering.
    I love you Tom and I love you Vera. Thank you for your hospitality in Brazil again going to great restaurants, and a home full of music and making life fuller with so much joy and gusto!

  • Deborah Briesmeister

    Today I celebrate the life of my friend Thomas More Kingkade. He was the essential FRIEND. During my college and early married life in Yakima, Tom was There; he was dependably and undeniably There, with us and for us.
    Tom carried joy and confidence everywhere, even in difficult times. He was joyful right to the end and held friendship close even is his final suffering.
    Tom was bright in the sense of intelligence, but he was bright in the sense of bringing light and faith and hope into our relationship.

    We lost touch with Tom for a number of years, yet when we saw each other again a year ago, it was like we had been friends relating together the whole time. Once again he exuded faith, hope, confidence and joy, and we were the happy recipients. And he introduced us to Vera and Oliver, his loving companions for his life journey.

    I will miss his laugh, his buoyancy, and his face until I see him again.

  • Patrick "Rick" ODom

    I knew Thomas for quite some time as well as Vera and Olicer. Thomas did work for me at SunTrust bank and was exceptional. I had Thomas and his family up to our lake house several times to enjoy some jet skiing and fun times on the water on Lake Notteley. Thomas was a good friend and we communicated not as ofter as we would have liked but did stay in tounch. I am very sad to hear of his passing. Vera, if you read this feel free to contact me. I am an avid golfer too. May Thomas Rest in Peace.

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