Thomas R. Oeffinger, 73, of Robeson Township, died suddenly and unexpectedly of natural causes on September 4, 2020 at home. Born in Altoona, PA, he was the son of the late C. Bruce Oeffinger & L. Jane (Putman) Oeffinger.
He was a 1964 graduate of Altoona High School and received his B.S. in Physics from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. While working for Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, he earned his M.S. in Physics from the University of Pittsburgh. He lived briefly in Baltimore before moving to southern California to work for Rockwell International.
At the invitation of work friends, Tom learned to square dance which led to meeting his future bride, Linda. They married in April of 1977. In June of 1980, they moved to Berks County where Tom had accepted a job from Western Electric (later AT&T, Lucent, and lastly Agere). He retired from Agere in 2002 having attained the title of Senior Staff.
From an early age, with family and Boy Scouts, Tom enjoyed the outdoors with camping, fishing, and hiking. He passed this love on to his children. One of his first major purchases as a wage-earner was a Grumman canoe to enjoy with his siblings and father. It continues to bring joy to subsequent generations. Recently it was determined that Tom was celebrating his golden anniversary with that canoe. He was fond of remarking that he had gotten his money’s worth from it.
Tom’s involvement with Scouts spanned from Cubs to earning the rank of Eagle and extended through his adult years to Troop 543 in Robeson Township. He served in several leadership positions including a period as Scoutmaster. Tom also earned his Wood Badge, an accomplishment in which he took some pride.
In late 2018, Tom was diagnosed as being in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It was mercifully a slow progression. He enthusiastically took part in research for this disease at the Penn Memory Center in Philadelphia and gleefully referred to himself as a lab rat.
More than anything, Tom was a man who lived his faith daily. He was a member of Allegheny Evangelical Lutheran Church in Knauers, where he served on the church choir, several committees, as Council President, and as the first ever “IT guy” of the church; his number was on speed dial for when computer issues occurred. He also worked with the youth, acting as a chaperone on work mission trips and served for many years as the church's coordinator for Family Promise.
Along with Linda, his wife of 43 years, survivors include a son, Brian E., husband of Jessica Rickabaugh of Philadelphia, a daughter, Elizabeth J. of Memphis, TN, sister Cheryl Adkinson of Jennersville, PA, brothers David Oeffinger of Gwynn Oak, MD and John Oeffinger, husband of Tina, of Altoona, PA. In addition, there are two beloved grandchildren in Philadelphia.
The family anticipates having a memorial service at some time in the future when all may gather in joy to celebrate this much-loved man.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to: Allegheny Evangelical Lutheran Church/Debt Reduction Fund, Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Family Promise of Berks County or the Penn Memory Center of Philadelphia. Bean Funeral Homes and Crematory, Inc., 3825 Penn Ave. Sinking Spring is in charge of arrangements and online condolences may be made at www.beanfuneralhomes.com.
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