Thomas Lee Bainbridge, Jr., of Foresthill, passed away at home, surrounded by family and friends in the evening of Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 92 years old.
He was born December 30, 1926 in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Thomas Lee Bainbridge and Margaret Virginia Bainbridge. He was predeceased by siblings David (Howell) Bainbridge and Virginia Bainbridge Phillips. Tom grew up in Logan, West Virginia. He left high school after tenth grade to help financially support the family and his ailing brother. In 1945 he joined the US Army, serving as a tank driver and was discharged in 1946. Following his military service, Tom worked for C & O Railroad as a machinist, greasing the wheels of steam trains. Currently, one of those trains is being restored in Maryland (see https://youtube/4smxhOgBy9g) and he was able to offer information to the restoration team.
Tom met the love of his life, Mary Ryan Bainbridge in November of 1952 at a dance. They were married in 1953 and moved to California where he worked at a pipe-making company. After the birth of their twins, they moved back to West Logan, and Tom returned to work at the Peach Creek railyard. In 1960 the family returned to California, eventually settling in El Monte. During this time, Tom worked as a welder at a commercial air conditioning manufacturer. In 1968 their son was born. In 1976, Tom and Mary moved to Foresthill with their young son. Along with Don and Dee Mitchell, they owned and operated the Foresthill Grocery until they sold their share of the store. At that point, Tom once again returned to the work he loved at Southern Pacific Railroad at the Roseville yard. He retired in 1992. Mary worked at the mill and was the last employee when it closed.
Tom and Mary loved Foresthill and were involved in many volunteer activities. They were charter members of the Historical Society, served on the Foresthill Pool Board and the Todd Valley Cemetery Committee, and volunteered with the Foresthill Fire Department. Through the years, Tom served as fireman, engineer, and captain. He was named firefighter of the year in 1992. He retired from the fire department in 1995. Often fire trucks were left at his home for mechanical or welding repairs. Friends and neighbors often came to Tom for the same or to borrow a special tool or to seek guidance on repairs. Tom could craft items using his welding skills. Many in Todd Valley own one of his decorative rotating sprinklers. The money he earned from these side jobs very often ended up being spent on his beloved blue 1964 Chevy pick-up truck.
Tom is survived by his twin daughters Karen (Gary) DeMille of Auburn and Karla (Sean) Dillon of Red Bluff, and son Tommy (Shawna) Bainbridge, III of Wyoming. His grandchildren are Kari (Dan Carney) DeMille, Kristin (Charles) Atkinson, Krystal Loveless, Steven Dillon, Shea Dillon, Rhonda (Ross) Buck, Kimberly (Casey) Newman. His great-grandchildren are Conner Atkinson, Karlie Carney, Travis (Abby) Bolitho, Shane (Jillian) Newman, Jason Newman and Jessica Newman. Tom is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and those he and Mary “adopted” through the years.
A celebration of life memorial service was held on Sunday, June 30 at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall in Foresthill. The service included a Veteran’s Honor Guard ceremony, special music by Gary Ordway, message by Pastor Gary Anderson, scripture reading by Pastor Marc Anderson and comments from friends and family of Thomas. Immediately following the service, the American Legion Auxiliary served refreshments. Thomas was laid to rest next to Mary at a private burial service at the Todd Valley Cemetery.
The community of Foresthill, his coffee buddies, friends, members of the Canyon View Assembly of God Church, and family will deeply miss Tom, but will remember the wisdom, support and knowledge that he gave to others, often through his quiet consistency, honesty and determination.