Thomas (Tom) Clark Riedberger passed away peacefully at home with his wife by his side on Sept. 1, 2011, ending a 10-month struggle with metastasized melanoma. Tom, who recently turned 50 years old, was born in Escondido, Calif., May 21, 1961, and was the second child and only son of Ronald and Mary Jesten Riedberger, of Vista, Calif.
Tom is survived by his parents who say they, “raised the best son anyone could ever ask for;” his older sister, Sandy Ashcraft, with whom he was very close; and an “almost brother” Scott Gray. Other family members blessed by Tom include: his sister’s children Laura, Jacob and Mary Ashcraft all of Vista, Calif.; his mother’s sisters, Margaret Jesten Rostad of Lake Park, Minn., and Emmy Lou Jesten Mueller of Bloomington, Minn.; his grandmother-in-law Rowena Elaine Adamson, of Pagosa Springs; father-in-law Michael O’Halloran Smith of Phoenix, Ariz.; mother-in-law April Adamson Holthaus, brother and sister-in-law Chris (Michele), nieces and nephews Keagan, Kailey, (Kyle and Ivy) Wiggers, Sawyer, Sydney, Kassidy, and Sullivan Smith, of Pagosa Springs, his sister in-law Andrea (Stephen), LeighAnna and Lydia Sprague of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Tom spent the best 26 years of his life married to Carolyn Elaine Smith Riedberger, together raising their two children Clark Jesten Riedberger and Rebekah (Becky) Ruth Riedberger, who are both currently attending Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. Carolyn will miss her husband and best friend, even as Clark and Becky will miss their dearly loved father.
Throughout his school years Tom actively participated in many activities with his family’s First Lutheran Church in Vista, Calif. He fearlessly played goalie for the Vista Valley High School Water Polo team leading them to a league title and a spot in the state finals; but a major part of his growing up years were devoted to learning and loving the game of golf — a passion he acquired from his father and would eventually pass on to his own son, Clark.
Tom graduated from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif., in 1983 with a degree in business administration. From 1983-2000 he worked at Forest Home Christian Conference Center, Forest Falls, Calif.; Bethany Christian School, Sierra Madre, Calif.; Redwood Christian Park, Boulder Creek, Calif. and Twin Lakes Christian Conference Center, Manson, Iowa. He also worked for Martin Marietta, now Lockheed Martin, in San Diego, Calif. In June 2000, Tom moved his family to Pagosa Springs, to be near family in Colorado. Tom, being a man of many skills, found himself teaching again, at Pagosa Christian School. The years following, he worked for Citizens Bank, the Community Bank of Colorado, handled the books of Smith Construction Services, where he also filled in doing construction work, worked in the business office of The Springs, as well as becoming a very available notary in the Four Corners area. At night, he occasionally helped with baking at the Floured Apron and Daylight Donuts, followed by his brief employment with Rod Rea and many other wonderful co-workers at Wilson, Rea, Beckel & Associates. However, his favorite role was being on staff as the treasurer for Grace Evangelical Free Church in Pagosa Springs. In each work arena, Tom’s genuine heart and always gracious humility combined with his diligent work ethic and sense of humor served our community well.
Tom heartily enjoyed little things in life like playing basketball with the Citizens Bank guys, spending time with family, being part of a men’s accountability group and a Grace Life Team, marshalling at the Pagosa Springs Golf Course, or playing a quick round with Clark. For 10 years, Tom helped coach the Pagosa Springs High School Golf Team with his good friend, Mark Faber. They passed along to the young people not only their love for the game, but exemplary character and conduct. The most hard-working and dedicated player Tom ever coached was his own son, Clark, who continues to excel on the Fort Lewis Golf Team.
As a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, employee, church-member, neighbor and friend — everything Tom did was for the good of others and to honor and glorify God. One would be hard-pressed to think of a harsh or unkind word, selfish or thoughtless deed, or cheerless, complaint-filled encounter connected with Tom Riedberger. Over the years, and even in these last few months of constant pain and unimaginable discomfort, all who had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with him were deeply touched by his sincere love for Jesus Christ and his unwavering faith and trust in God’s will for his life.
His family is grateful for the many family members and friends who have provided a tremendous amount of tangible support, encouragement, love and comfort during this past year.
Community and friends are invited to a memorial service celebrating the life of Tom Riedberger that will be held on Sept. 10, 2011, at 10 a.m. at Centerpoint Church off U.S. 160 in Pagosa Springs. Donations are being accepted for Tom’s family at Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs, PO Drawer 1508, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.