Thomas Lee Whitstine Sr.
Thomas Lee Whitstine, Sr. age 80 passed away at his home in Palmer, Alaska on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. He was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on June 18, 1937 to parents, Virgil and Bey-Ballou Whitstine. He excelled in football while at Edna High School and had a love of automobiles, sporting a 1956 Buick Century. Tommy met the love of his life, Helen, a petite beauty from Louisiana, while he lived in Edna, and they were married on Dec. 23, 1959 in Sinton, Texas. Tommy followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in the oilfield industry in South Texas, working for Southland Drilling Co., Johnston Testers, Western Cementers and Brown Oil Tools. Tommy and Helena soon had two sons, Thomas Lee, Jr. and Jeffery and in 1974 began the journey north to Alaska as Tommy continued his career in the Alaska oil boom with Brown Oil Tool Co. He later joined ARCO Alaska in 1976. The couple moved to Palmer in 1979 and shortly afterward became foster parents, serving as parents to more than 200 Alaskan children up until the late 1990’s. In 1992, Tommy and Helena adopted five sibling foster children; Amy, Steven, Wesley, Rodney and Stacey. Tommy retired from ARCO Alaska in late 1992, although he continued working on the North Slope with VECO, APC, ASCI and TSA until his retirement from the industry at the end of 2006. The mild-mannered Texas man was known for his kind smile, witty humor, humble personality, and a genuine willingness to help others. He was devoted to his bride of 58 years, Helena, who passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 31, 2017. Tommy could always be relied upon to babysit for his many grandchildren or great-grandchildren and took pride in offering his “spicy” Big Red gum to those kids that dared to chew his favorite cinnamon gum. He had a love of reading, classic country music, classic cars, riding 4-wheelers and watching Law and Order. Camping was one of favorite activities and throughout the years, he and his family enjoyed touring the state and country in the various motor homes that they owned. Tommy enjoyed a close relationship with his four siblings; Kenoth, Carol, Susie and Diana and was dedicated to spending time with them throughout the years. Tommy is survived by his children Thomas Jr. (Sherry), of Wasilla; Jeff (Sandra), of Palmer; Amy (Gavin), of Palmer; Steven and Rodney, both of Anchorage; Stacey, of Palmer; and Lilli, of Palmer; grandchildren Jennifer, Scott, Emily, Britny, Alex, Brooke, Lauren, Odin, Skyler, Hailey, and Aurora; great-grandchildren; Ezra, Uriah, Kodi, Aubree, Abel, Audiyah, Jade, Harper and Laina. He is survived by his siblings; Kenoth, ( Joyce) of Orange, Carol, of Houston, Diana, of Wesley Chapel, Fla. and Susie, of Kingwood. Tommy is also survived by many nieces and nephews.