Hon. Thomas (Tom) Mathew Mosgrove was born June 5, 1929, to Pauline Myrick and Thomas Henderson Mosgrove in the old Walla Walla Sanitarium and Hospital, now a Whitman College dorm. He died of pancreatic cancer at home in Walla Walla surrounded by family on October 7.
It was Tom’s grandfather, Matthew Mosgrove, who brought the family to Oregon from Ireland in 1875 and opened the Mosgrove Mercantile stores in Milton, Athena, Dayton and Waitsburg. That Irish connection was always in Tom’s heart and he made many trips there to visit relatives.
Tom grew up in Milton, Ore., until the passing of his father, when he and his mother eventually moved to Pendleton, Ore., where she became the Umatilla County treasurer. Tom spent many summers working in the wheat fields and at the pea cannery. Upon graduating from Pendleton High School in 1947, he wasted no time planning a future that did not include manual labor and attended the University of Oregon with an eye toward medicine. Discovering a distinct distaste for chemistry, Tom switched to law and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1953.
After his marriage to Carla Cunha and a stint as first lieutenant in the Air Force stationed in Dayton, Ohio, during the Korean War, Tom went on to practice law in Pendleton and John Day, Ore. He was legal counsel to the local school board, Blue Mountain Hospital board, and the towns of John Day, Prairie City and Mount Vernon.
In 1979, then-Governor Vic Atiyeh appointed him to the 11th District Circuit Court. Judge Mosgrove served in that capacity in Bend, Ore., until he retired in 1994 to travel, play tennis, and fish at the family campsite near the Copper River in Alaska. Many delicious salmon dinners were enjoyed as a result of those Alaskan adventures.
Tom was an avid tennis player, and by the time he was 86 years old, his coverage of the tennis court had slowed but his blistering serve continued to make him a sought-after doubles partner. His love of jazz and an aptitude for making dry martinis carried through his life and was the cause for many delightful evenings with lifelong friends.
He was predeceased by his beloved sons, Matthew (Matt) Mosgrove and Douglas (Doug) Mosgrove. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jerry Marshall Mosgrove, and children Shauna Mosgrove, Michelle Liberty, David Liberty and Mary Liberty-Traughber, along with five grandchildren, Loren and Ryan Traughber, Isaac Liberty, Asia Richardson (Ollie) and Maxime Liberty-Point, three great-granddaughters, and his faithful rescue dog, Cody.
A celebration of life will be held on October 23 at Waterbrook Winery, 10518 W. Highway 12, Walla Walla, from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Blue Mountain Humane Society or Walla Walla Hospice.
Friends and family may send condolences or sign the online guest book at www.mountainview-colonialdewitt.com.