Tom always considered himself a “Californian” but began his life in McVeytown, Pa on November 15, 1939. His parents Harry and Verna Harbst blessed him with two Sisters, Doris Dumm and Judy (John) Grassmyer. Upon high school graduation he entered Shippensburg State College graduating in 1961 with a B.S. in Education. He received his M.A. in secondary education from Indiana State University in 1968. Following graduation from college, Tom entered the Air Force, completed O.T.S. then reached the rank of Captain. He served as navigator based at Mather and McClellan AFB. He ended his active service in 1966 but continued in the Reserves until 1971.
His teaching career began in Tyrone, Pa in 1967 and subsequently led him to Sacramento, Ca. He achieved a second M.A. degree in counseling from C.S.U.S. He taught mathematics at Valley Vista and Foothill Farms Junior High Schools before retiring in 2001. Tom’s family life includes two chapters. His first, of 20 years, includes his two daughters Michelle Harbst and Shannon (Jack) Hansen, with their mother Cheri Hamilton. In 1983 his second family chapter began when he met his beloved wife Leslie and her three daughters, Gail (Jeff) Richelieu, Lori (Paul) Schurman and Jennifer ( Jeff) Jackson.
Tom has been blessed with seven adoring grandchildren: Alyssa, Tanner, Sarah, Haley, Loran, Carson and Allison. He leaves his brothers and sisters-in-law Steven and Nancy Cook, Francois and Christi DeGrandi, as well as many nephews, nieces, and other family and friends. Surrounded by his loving family, Tom left us on March 12, 2010 after a life rich in Love, Laughter and Adventures. After Tom’s family, his greater Loves were his dogs. Because of this, the family requests any remembrances to be donated in Tom’s name to the Sacramento Chapter of the S.P.C.A.