June 23 2018
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A Family's Commitment to Oregon's Military History
Oregon State Media, Inc.
  Saturday March 7, 2015 - 12:30 AM
Oregon Military Museum's Tom Withycombe Library named for Grandson of Oregon's 15th Governor

Clackamas, Ore - On Tuesday, March 10 at 10:00 AM, Thomas E. Withycombe and his wife Kathy will present a check to the Historical Outreach Foundation (HOF), the organization charged with the fundraising for the new Brigadier General James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum at Camp Withycombe. The museum, now under construction, sits on the property named for Tom's grandfather, James Withycombe, Oregon's 15th Governor.

In addition to a $300,000 gift to the Oregon Military Museum, the Withycombe family will donate hundreds of books that were part of Tom's personal Collection.

"Tom has always been a voracious reader," said Kathy of her husband. "When we moved into our new home last year, it was clear that the book collection had outgrown its space. We knew the museum would be just the right place to permanently house it."

Selected books will be available in the Tom Withycombe Library when the museum opens.

The Withycombe family is already discussing plans to attend a ceremony scheduled for August 15 on the museum grounds.

"Our children brought up the subject of my upcoming birthday, and together we decided that the ceremony at the Oregon Military Museum would be a fitting place to celebrate 80 years of life."

When asked about the decision to make this donation to the museum, Kathy attributed it to the role Tom's grandfather played in Oregon's history, and his legacy of patriotism.

"It is really out of a respect for Governor Withycombe and the dedication he showed to those who served in the war," she said. "Tom shares his family's deep commitment to honoring our veterans."

James Withycombe served as Oregon's Governor from 1914 - 1919. He died in office from a heart illness, ten years before Tom was born. While Tom never met his grandfather, he was inspired by stories of his great patriotism and commitment to those who served during WWI.

Tom Withycombe's own military journey began after graduating from Columbia University in New York on a NROTC scholarship. He served in the Marines during the Korean War. In 1953, Just a year after he returned from Korea, he entered Harvard Law School, graduating in 1956.

After law school, Withycombe and his wife Kathy, a registered nurse, lived in several states across the country, raising a family along the way. For 30 years, Tom served as in-house counsel for Georgia Pacific, retiring in Oregon in 1995.

Recently he and his wife built a house on the family property in Hillsboro, land that was home to James Withycombe. At the entrance to their property sits a large Sequoia tree.

"That tree was planted by Tom's grandfather on his wedding day in 1875," Kathy tells, as she recollects the family's journey that spanned two generations and well over 100 years of Oregon history.

About the Historical Outreach Foundation

The Historical Outreach Foundation (HOF) honors the men and women who have served this state and nation in our armed forces, and provides a comprehensive educational resource for preserving and sharing Oregon's rich military history.

The HOF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, drives the funding for the new Brigadier General James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum. Through several education-based initiatives including school presentations, the Oregon Military Museum and the Veterans' Legacies Project, and in partnership with Oregon World War II Memorial, the Historical Outreach Foundation is charged with showcasing Oregon's rich military history and making it accessible to everyone.

To find out how to support the Historical Outreach Foundation and the Oregon Military Museum, visit, or call Alisha Hamel, executive director at (503) 705-5965.