Cover photo for Thomas Simonen's Obituary
1938 Thomas 2023

Thomas Simonen

August 25, 1938 — July 17, 2023

Berkeley, CA / Munising

Thomas Simonen of Berkeley, California and Lake Ostrander, Michigan died on July 17, 2023.

Tom was born in Munising on August 25, 1938, to Paul and Alice (Ikola) Simonen. His father was a chemist at the paper mill and his mother taught school.  He was a radio ham, a delivery boy for the Marquette Mining Journal, and played basketball for Wm. G Mather High School where he graduated with the class of 1956. His Eagle Scout project was building a trail into Munising Falls.

Following graduation from Michigan Tech in 1960 with majors in math and electrical engineering, Tom went on to receive a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. While at Stanford, Tom met his wife Candace McDonnell of Mill Valley, California.  They were married in 1964 and had two daughters, Kathrina Lois and Brenda Alice.

Tom spent his career working on developing methods to generate electricity through fusion reactions.  He directed large experiments at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and General Atomics.

All four of Tom’s grandparents as well as his father immigrated from Finland. Tom was very proud of his Finnish heritage.

After he retired, Tom earned a certificate in Fine Woodworking from Mira Costa Community College.  He built a workshop in his garage where he made beautiful hand-crafted furniture.

Every summer after they retired Tom and Candy returned to their cabin on Lake Ostrander in the Hiawatha National Forest, where he built an addition to the cabin, a bunkhouse, and a small workshop where he could continue his woodworking.  He was most happy there when his daughters and grandchildren visited.  He taught his grandkids woodworking and encouraged them to explore the lakes and woods.

Tom is survived by his wife Candy, his daughters, Katie and Brenda, and seven grandchildren: Matias, Tomas, Lucas and Natalie  Moreno; Max and Oliver Simonen Luke, and Gus Waters.  He is also survived by his brother Fred (Chris) and nephews Mike and Matt Simonen and his nieces, Debbie Simonen and Patty Simonen Gerlicher.   He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Ed and sister-in-law Judy.

A memorial service of evening prayer was held July 27 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Berkeley.  Interment will be at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Munising on Friday, August 25th at 1 pm.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Simonen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, August 25, 2023

Starts at 1:00pm (Eastern time)

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