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Tom McAllister *
[1963]

School: Jefferson

Sports Played: Football, Track and Field

High School Honors: Football: 2-year letter winner; 1st Team All-PIL and All-State as a Junior; Shrine Team participant as a Senior. Played on 1961 City Championship team. Track & Field: 1-year letter winner; member of Championship City and State 880-Yard Relay Team and City 440-yard Relay Team as a Senior.

Post High School Career: Played College Football at University of Washington. College Professor at University of Washington, Jackson State, Evergreen College and Clark College.

Commentary:

In 1978, Tom received the nationwide award which is given to outstanding young men of America for “Outstanding Professional Achievement, Superior Leadership Ability and Exceptional Service to the Community. He also served on the Portland Opportunities Center Board (POIC) for several years.

The traits that Tom demonstrated in track and football—such as perseverance, determination, discipline, and hard work — were the same traits he demonstrated as a teacher and when he faced adversity. Tom was a role model for those who needed to overcome physical challenges. His attitude was, “I must give my all, there's no alternative.” (For the last 20 years of his teaching life, Tom had neurosarcoidosis which led to blindness in one eye and paralysis from the waist down. The last two and a half years of his life were spent in a nursing home. When it came to the point where he could only lift his head, he lifted his head to keep that ability. He worked with what he had. His attitude — I must give my all, there's no alternative—and warm smile drew the residents and nursing staff to him. In essence, sarcoid did not define Tom. Instead, it allowed Tom to personify perseverance, determination, discipline, and hard work).

Tom was passionate about teaching and seemed to always have a listening ear or encouraging word. His teaching, however, was not limited to the classroom. He consistently encouraged young family members to embrace learning. The following excerpts from a former student provides a glimpse of the man he was:

“Dr. Tom McAllister was my favorite teacher (along with others of us) when I attended the Vancouver campus of the Evergreen State College. While attending school I ran for political office where he was my teacher and mentor. He then permitted a church internship, which allowed me to become who I am today... Evergreen State believed in life-long learning and so did Tom, but Tom also permitted religious freedom and thought and was the best influence I desperately needed at that time. His Christian faith, although it had to be veiled in the public school setting, shone as a beacon in darkness. I wish I could have told him personally how amazing an influence and encouragement he was to me.” (Dr. M.K.).

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