Cover photo for Thomas Ralph Cramblet's Obituary
Thomas Ralph Cramblet Profile Photo
1932 Thomas 2023

Thomas Ralph Cramblet

September 10, 1932 — July 18, 2023

Long time local resident and retired Cabrillo College faculty member Tom Cramblet passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 18th surrounded by his family. Tom lived a long life filled with many happy times with family, friends, and colleagues.

Tom was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 10,1932 to Ralph and Mary Cramblet. Ralph was District Sales Manager for United Artists Film Corporation and Mary was a homemaker and avid musician who had originally played the organ for the silent movies.

Together with his sisters, Joanne and Mary Carol, the family moved to Braham, Minnesota in 1945 where they ran a local movie theatre and Tom developed a love for the classics. The family also had a farm in the country and Tom began forming an appreciation for gardening and farming. Tom was very active in scouting and received his Eagle Scout rank at age 15. After several years in Braham, the family moved to Long Beach Indiana where Tom completed high school.

Tom attended both University of Minnesota and Purdue University before receiving his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Indiana University at Bloomington. After receiving his undergraduate degree and completing ROTC, Tom served as U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant from 1954 to 1957 and was stationed in Chicago.

While in Chicago, Tom met his future bride Phyllis Taylor of La Porte Indiana. Tom and Phyllis where married in September of 1957 and moved to Bloomington Indiana where Tom completed his Master’s in Chemistry with the support of Phyllis’s career in nursing.

Following his own inclinations and with his father’s encouragement to “go west young man,” in 1959 Tom and Phyllis moved to California. Tom was one of the first instructors hired at Cabrillo College, and was proudly counted among the “Carpetbaggers,” arriving in Aptos in 1960 after teaching at Berkeley High School for a year.

Tom relished the opportunity to establish a new chemistry department from the ground up. He was active in expanding the curriculum and growing the department. He earned a reputation as an outstanding instructor while also fulfilling responsibilities as a faculty leader. He was president of the Faculty Council prior to the Faculty Senate being formed. Tom also served as chairperson of the BECHO (Biology, Chemistry and Health Occupations) Division from 1971-1976. Tom retired from full-time teaching in May of 1992 and continued as a part time faculty member for several years before finally hanging up his lab coat.

Tom was very active in the community and civic enterprises. He was involved in many local initiatives including school bond drives created to raise funds for the building of Aptos High School and Aptos Junior High School. He volunteered teaching grade school science and helping Aptos High School set up its first chemistry lab.

Not a person to just sit, Tom used one of his sabbaticals to build a custom home in Corralitos in 1976. A gardener at heart, he added vegetable and flower gardens, caring for roses, irises, dahlias and more. Tom found true comfort and joy in digging in his garden. Tom loved nature and enjoyed trips to the Sierras. The family spent many summers enjoying Hart’s cabin at Pinecrest Lake.

Tom is survived by his wife of 65 years Phyllis Cramblet; his daughter Kathleen Malone (Pat), his son Mark Cramblet (Liz) and son Phillip Cramblet, and 7 grandchildren: Ryan and Kristen Malone; Kayla, Hannah and Robert Cramblet; Kattie and Melissa Cramblet, along with many of his nieces, nephews and cousins.

Tom was a terrific husband, father and grandfather who cherished his family. He enjoyed a long career helping students and gained great satisfaction seeing them succeed in the world.

A private memorial service will be held on August 3rd at the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery. A Celebration of Tom's life is scheduled for September 30th.

Donations in his memory can be made to the Chemistry Scholarship Fund through the Cabrillo College Foundation:

To send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Ralph Cramblet, please visit our flower store.


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