Obitury, Tommy Ambrose

Ambrose Tommy and Shirley Ambrose Tommy W Ambrose and Shirley Ann Ball Ambrose, married for 68 years, died eight months apart in 2020. Tommy died January 13th in Pocatello, ID, after a decline from a series of strokes. Shirley died October 2nd at her beloved farm near Pocatello, where she grew up and to which she and Tommy moved in retirement. They leave behind their three daughters Leslie, Julie, and Pamela, grandchildren Shira and Joshua, and Tommy’s sister Arlene DeMars. Tommy is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Rosemary Thornburg. Besides Tommy, Shirley is preceded in death by her parents, and her sister Cynthia Guyer. Tommy was born on October 14, 1926, to Fines and Fern (Buff) Ambrose, in Jerome, Idaho. He and his sisters grew up on the family farm. At the start of World War II, Tommy enlisted in the United States Navy and served on the U.S.S. Franklin in the Pacific Theatre. After the war, Tommy earned his bachelor’s (’50) and master’s (’51) degrees in chemical engineering at the University of Idaho. In 1957, he completed his doctorate at Oregon State University. Shirley was born in Pocatello on February 13th, 1928, to Pearl and Frank Ball. She attended Idaho State University for two years, and then transferred to the University of Idaho, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in English. The couple met while attending college and married in 1951. They settled in Richland, WA, where Tommy started his career at General Electric Company at the Hanford Atomic Works. They moved to Corvallis, OR, where Tommy earned his PhD. Returning to Richland, Tommy pursued his careers with GE and Douglas United Nuclear, before moving to Battelle Memorial Institute, as director of the Seattle Research Center and then as director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. Shirley pursued her interest in the arts by teaching ballet and acting as choreographer for the Richland Light Opera. She also assumed much of the practical responsibility for raising their three daughters, instilling in them her love of the arts. The family particularly enjoyed their annual trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Tommy retired as a Vice President from Battelle to serve the University of California System as liaison between its president and Department of Energy’s three National Laboratories: Livermore, Los Alamos and Berkeley. Tommy received the University of Idaho’s Hall of Fame award (1980), the Oregon State University College of Engineering Hall of Fame award (2001), and the Idaho State University College of Engineering’s Professional Achievement award (2000). In 2011, Tommy was inducted into the Inaugural Class of the University of Idaho’s Academy of Engineers. In retirement, Tommy and Shirley renovated the house at their farm. By their count, they had built three houses and renovated three more over the course of their partnership. They shared a do-it yourself attitude and a strong work ethic, perhaps a result of their farm upbringings. They will be sorely missed. Donations in their honor may be made to the University of Idaho. Individual obituaries for Tommy and Shirley can be found at wilksfuneralhome.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.