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.