Thomas Nicholas Pappas
1936 - 2019
{ "" }
Share Thomas's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share

July 30, 1936 ˜ September 1, 2019

Dr. Tom Pappas, age 83, died on Sunday, September 1, 2019 at Americana Rehabilitation Center in Longview, Washington. He died of natural causes and fell asleep listening to classical music when his heart stopped.
Tom was the youngest child born to John and Despina Pappas, in Detroit, Michigan, immigrant parents from Greece. It’s a miracle he even lived because he was born feet first, a theme that would play out for most of his life. Also, the umbilical cord wrapped around this neck and the delivery doctor called a “garbage can” baby. He was stillborn, but his father, John Pappas asked if he could try breathing into his lungs and slowly but surely Tom started breathing on his own and lived to tell the story many times. Despina gave him life and John saved his life.
Tom’s teaching career started at Country Day School and Detroit Bible College in Detroit, Michigan. He went on to excel in speech, debate and ultimately went to Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in History and Political Science. If that wasn’t enough, he continued his education earning a Ph.D from Michigan State University, Lansing, Michigan.
Dr. Pappas accepted a teaching position at Anderson College (now University) in Anderson, Indiana. He was known as a creative and gifted professor who could inspire and captivate with his witticisms and intellectual prowess. He made history come to life. He inspired many of his students to also become teachers. He started the Intercollegiate Debate Team and the Tri-S Student Travel Program. He was greatly revered by his students and colleagues. He was at Anderson College for nearly two decades and then accepted a position as Dean at Warner Pacific College, Portland, Oregon. After Warner, he worked for Concordia University, Portland, Oregon and helped smaller colleges define their programs and attract students. Dr. Pappas was appointed Dean of International Studies at Hope International University in Fullerton, California.
In retirement, he taught Art History at the Art Institute of Portland, Oregon and Sterling Academy. He was also assistant to the President for Global studies at Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana.
There is not a blue passport that could rival his. Dr. Pappas’s vast travel experiences took him all over the world. He loved to wander through the world letting the possibility of adventure be his tool of navigation. His travels to the former Soviet Union resulted in being expelled since he was not one to be silenced. He also traveled throughout Europe, Japan, China, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Greece. He was an exceptional lecturer and his students still talk about his lectures and mannerisms.
He was the baby of the family and was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Evelyn and Edward ”Eddie” Pappas.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Gloria Pappas; daughter, Constance Pappas (son-in-law Gene Halverson); along with nieces and nephews in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Massachusetts.
Never one to miss the start of another school year, Dr. Pappas will be continuing his lectures in the great beyond. Office hours by appointment. Rest in Peace.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Park Place Church of God, 501 College Drive, Anderson, Indiana on October 20, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.
Donations can be made to Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana or Community Hospice in Longview, Washington.
Please sign his guest book @

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Columbian on Sep. 15, 2019.
Celebration of Life
03:00 PM
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
16 entries
March 24, 2021
Dear Gloria and family, I offer my deepest condolences to you loss, a recent discovery for me. Dr. Pappas was a great mentor and wonderful storyteller. I taught at one of the schools he chaired in Long Beach, CA. He was supportive to anyone who he felt they needed the encouragement and suggestions. I had and continue to revere him in the utmost respect. I was one of those fortunate to be a recipient of several of his significant reference letters that stepped me upward to the immediate goals hoped for in further teaching. His integrity was profound!
Jacquewyn Chambers-Martin
September 28, 2020
Dear Tommer,

It’s been a year you are away from us, but we never forget the laughters , love , caring you brought to our family. The most important thing you worked so hard in Shenzhen University in order to get Christina and Larry Pappas to join with you here in Los Angeles. Following you all the way to USC campus, you said I was your greatest product as a teacher working at LAUSD.
Never forget our first meeting as your interpreter, “ Christina, What’s your dream? “
Never forget your inspiring mottos,” My body might get tired, but my mind never.” Which became my messages to my students every year.
Vet forget the fight for the justice together when there’s racial discrimination occurred .
Never forget the tissues you offered me for my tears when I was there in Park Loyal.
Never forget our tearful departure because I knew we might not see you again, but you pointed you Room number 17. Larry and I went back twice , but we finally left with tears flooding the Columbia River.
Never met the our final trip to join with you for a special Thanksgiving .
You never said good bye to your Christina and Larry Pappas.
We missed dearly.
Wishing you Rest In Peace
Enjoy your globalization! There’s no country there, no colors, no pain, and you are finally at Home !

We love you forever.

Christina , Larry , Bugsy Pappas
Christina L. Kuang
October 4, 2019
Dear Gloria and Connie, I was once Dr. Pappas' office assistant at Anderson. Yes, I graded papers but I also watched Connie at your apartment while Gloria took classes. I traveled in that first over seas trip that he lead for 2 months. Awesome teacher and gentleman.
Marcene (Miller) Wallace
September 25, 2019
Dear Gloria,
I am so sorry to hear of your husband's passing. I believe I met Tom on at least two occasions, and each time I recognized he was a man with stories to tell. He had such a twinkle in his eye, and an extraordinarily rich life to accompany it.

Thinking of you and your family.

Toni Johnson
September 23, 2019
In loving memory of my dear Uncle Tommy.
Yvonne Anagnost
September 21, 2019
Dr Pappas was a friend, a mentor, and a blessing to me with a twinkle of motivation mixed in.He has lead me to a "not giving up" mastery in my life. With is inspiration and my promise, I am still trying to get my teachers license even after my hardships I still take that path. I will always be talking to him while he guides me from above. Bless you Dr Pappas and you will always guide me through life. Your in my heart forever.
Your student and friend,
James Oliver
James Oliver
September 17, 2019
Praying for blessings and love to surround the Pappas family.
~Sharon Kremiller Miller
September 17, 2019
Our condolences to you Gloria and Connie. "Uncle Tom" was very special to me. I liked that he took me down to the Financial Center to learn about the stock market back in late 1970's at WPC. I liked how he shared warmed Vernors with our family. I remember having a cook-out at your house in Anderson using newspaper. With love, Julie & RJ Jackson and for the Fritzlers. Tom sure loved my dad Gil Fritzler. God Bless You!!!
September 16, 2019
Gloria, so sorry to learn of Tom's passing. To say he was larger than life is a great understatement, as you know. He made a significant and lasting impact on Anderson University, for which we're all grateful. Blessings, John Pistole
John Pistole
September 16, 2019
Tom was the brother-in-law of my cousin Eunice who was married to Tom's brother Ed. Before Tom and I were married I would go up to visit my cousin and Tom and I would get together, I would sit in on some of his lectures on days he would teach, and then we would go out for lunch. We had many great times together because of his fantastic wit and humor-those were such great times!! His memory will definitely be eternal in my heart!!
Dr Steven P. Collins
September 16, 2019
It is sad to learn of Dr. Pappas' passing. He ignited my love of history. I was blessed to teach history at Anderson University following that guidance for 20 years. Rest in peace. He will be missed.
David Neidert
September 15, 2019
Gloria - I am so sorry to hear about Tom. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
Carol Fenstermacher
September 15, 2019
I was in his class in 1962-63 at Anderson College. My single name was Carolyn Turner. Thank you for the notice of his death. I will not be able to come to the funeral. Please give this note to his family.
Carolyn Turner , now Miller
September 15, 2019
Dr. Pappas so enjoyed relating anecdotes from his travels. He was a raconteur supreme.
Richard and Maureen Towner
September 15, 2019
An inspiring, helpful prof and obvious good man. Always enjoyed his classes at Anderson (College) University.
Our hearts join you, his family, in grieving and celebrating his life and impact. God bless.
Dave & Greta Reames
September 15, 2019
I remember Dr. Pappas as an insightful and gifted teacher. I was privileged to accompany him and a class of students one Summer around Europe studying world history. On the trip I got to know his wonderful wife, Gloria and was privileged to accompany his daughter, Connie, everywhere. But what I remember most of all was his kind attention to every student on the trip and his goal of making sure each had an excellent learning experience.
Scott Clear
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences