THOMAS NICHOLAS PAPPAS
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 @ www.columbian.com/obits