I met with Tom and Carolyn Tobey in their lovely home on Lake Chelan, just off Highway 150 in Manson. Their home is very warm and inviting and contains amazing highlights of their life together. We talked over a couple cups of coffee and some wonderful sugar cookies Carolyn had made.
Tom was born May 27, 1946 in Kankakee, Illinois, located 50 miles south of Chicago. Kankakee is a rural town supported by agriculture and a few industrial plants with ties to Chicago companies. It is infamous as one of the small towns in Illinois where Al Capone went to hide out when things got too hot in Chicago during prohibition! Tom’s mom’s family grew up in this area and she married his dad after his discharged from the United States Air Force after World War II. Tom’s dad worked in construction building houses and plastering until 1965 when he joined a small pharmaceutical company. He finished his career as plant manager for that company that was later bought by Bayer. The company processed animal blood fractions that were used making medical products for humans.
Tom is the oldest in his family, has two brothers and a sister. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1964. Tom played football and was team captain, he participated in track, wrestling and served as senior class president. He excelled at math and had a keen interest in science and technology. Growing up Tom’s hero was John Wayne.
After high school Tom attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, he graduated in 1969 with a degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. He also earned his private pilot license during college. After graduation Tom went to work as a Propulsion Engineer with the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California, working on the DC-10 airplane, development and certification.
A major event in Tom and Carolyn’s lives took place July 12, 1969, the day they met. “It was one of those God things, Tom said. I had spent the entire day taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test for the MBA program at Cal State Long Beach and was ready to relax. A friend told me they had a great band at the Rain Tree night club in Redondo Beach, about a 40-minute drive away.” Carolyn was living in Redondo Beach at the time and enjoyed going to the Rain Tree on the weekends with her friend Linda. Carolyn told me “Linda and I both loved to dance but we had a rule that we would not let men sit at our table. It was pretty crowded and as Linda and I were just sitting down, Tom asked me to dance. By the time we got back to the table Linda was dancing with a guy and we both violated our own rule and let the guys sit with us! As it turns out, we both married these two guys.” I loved Tom’s beautiful smile and we had lots of fun dancing. Before the night was over Tom asked me out for our first date to the San Diego Zoo the next day.” Tom and Carolyn were engaged on Easter 1970 and married on June 27, 1970 at Long Beach Methodist Church spending their honeymoon in Hawaii.
In 1973 their first daughter, Nicole was born followed by another daughter, Stephanie, in 1976. During this time, Tom earned his MBA degree from the University of California at Long Beach. Tom then accepted a position with McDonnell Douglas as a Technical Representative in Dayton, Ohio. Tom and Carolyn packed up the family and moved from Long Beach to Dayton, Ohio. There he worked closely with the United States Air Force at Wright Aeronautical Laboratories and McDonnell-Douglas engineers developing new propulsion systems, cockpit escape systems and aircraft technologies. In 1979 Tom and Carolyn were blessed with their son, Matthew.
From Dayton, Tom joined the Boeing Company in 1979 as a Technical Representative and moved with his family to Washington, DC. In Washington he continued working with the Airforce, NASA and other government agencies to develop new technology programs such as the anti-satellite (ASAT) program designed to incapacitate or destroy enemy satellites and President Ronald Regan’s Star Wars project, a proposed missile defense system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons (intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles).
In 1981, Tom accepted an assignment with the Boeing Company’s Kent Space Center where he served as Manager of Engineering Technology with the out plant technology offices and the internal technology proposal operations reporting to him. Carolyn and Tom moved their family from Washington to Kent for this assignment. They bought a home with three acres on the east hill of Kent and lived there for the next 24 years as Tom worked various assignments for the Boeing Company in the Seattle area.
In 1988 Tom accepted a corporate position reporting to the Senior Vice President of Engineering for the Boeing Company in Seattle. In 1990 he became the Director of Program Management for the Boeing Commercial Airplane Fabrication Division in Auburn, Washington, the largest airplane parts plant in the world supporting production for all Boeing commercial jetliners. He then moved on to Director of Continuous Quality Improvement and then to Director of the Interiors Responsibility Center in Everett. After that assignment he became the Director of Boeing Commercial Manufacturing Research and Development until he retired in 2006. While at Boeing he served as the executive interface to the University of Illinois, he was on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Leaders for Manufacturing Board, the Boeing Technical Fellows evaluation committee, led the selection of the University Outstanding Educator Award and was on the Board for Music Works Northwest.
When Tom ended his career, all of the various aerospace companies he worked for had merged to become the Boeing Company giving him 37 years of combined service! Tom enjoyed the variety of assignments, interesting people and different locations he experienced during this time. His wife Carolyn and his family were at his side the whole time moving across country and back, meeting one challenge after another.
Carolyn Scott was born in Phoenix, Arizona on May 31, 1947. She had a challenging childhood she thought was normal at the time. Carolyn’s mother worked as a waitress, barely getting by, after the birth of her fifth child she wanted more freedom. So she dropped all five children at an aunt’s house in Colorado and disappeared, Carolyn was seven years old at the time! The aunt, who had four children of her own, was unable to care for all of the children so Carolyn and her brothers were turned over to the State of Colorado and placed in an orphanage and foster care. A year later her mother returned, picked up the children and took them to Phoenix, Arizona, where she and her new husband were running a small restaurant. The children were a big burden for the the struggling couple. Looking for some relief, Carolyn’s mom placed Carolyn and her brothers, except for her baby brother, in Sunshine Acres Children Home in Mesa, Arizona. Carolyn remained at Sunshine Acres from third grade until she was a sophomore in high school. The Mission of Sunshine Acres is to “Provide a loving, wholesome, Christian home for children who are separated from their parents helping them establish long-term relationships with stable parental figures, preparing them for success in adult life.” Carolyn and her brothers were among “the first 500” at Sunshine Acres and she looks back at this time as the best part of her childhood. Carolyn recalls lots of stories about growing up at Sunshine Acres as this facility grew and established itself as a first-rate care facility for children.
The story is not over as Carolyn’s mom picked up the children again and moved the family to Los Angeles! There Carolyn graduated from Morning Side High School located in Inglewood, California in 1965. During high school she played the violin in orchestra and sang in chorus.
After graduating, Carolyn attended the Cambridge School of Medical and Dental Assistant program and went on to work in a cardiologist office in Torrance, California. After marrying Tom, she returned to school at Long Beach Community College pursuing a two-year Liberal Arts degree.
During the family moves across country and back, Carolyn stayed at home while the children were growing up. In 1985 Carolyn returned to the workforce working for the Boeing Company in several positions of increasing responsibility ending up as a Manager of Quality Control for the 737 and 757 planes. Carolyn retired in 2000 with 15 years’ service to the Boeing Company.
When the family moved to Kent, Washington, they had purchased a “fixer upper” home and had a great time doing the repairs and developing the property. Grandpa and Grandma Tobey thought Tom and Carolyn should do something with the new property they had purchased so they purchased the kids a Shetland pony for Christmas. The kids loved the pony and that led to a barn, riding arena, tack, trailer, truck and as many as five quarter horses at one time for the Tobeys! Nicole, Stephanie and Mathew were all 4-H and Washington State Horsemen members and competed in fairs and various horsemanship events. The horses were lots of fun, but when college came the horses went!
In 1992 Tom and Carolyn purchased a house on the south shore of Lake Chelan as their summer home. When Tom was ready to retire, he sold the Kent property and purchased a larger property on the north shore of Lake Chelan, their current home. Tom and Carolyn looked at remodeling this property, but decided the changes they wanted to make would not be cost effective so they had it burned for Manson fire department training. They moved into their current house in 2006.
Throughout their careers, Tom and Carolyn have been involved in church, community and service activities, that has not changed after moving to Manson. Tom served as a North Shore Elder for three years, served on the Manson Parks Board, a Sunday school teacher, helping with building maintenance and repair and as a worship technical operator at North Shore Bible Church. He has volunteered at Habitat for Humanity. He and Carolyn were members of the Manson Chamber of Commerce and the Chelan Chamber of Commerce when they were running their business in Manson. Carolyn taught Sunday school at North Shore, sang in the choir and is a member of the Lake Chelan Community Hospital Guild B.
In 2007 the Tobey’s purchased Mill Bay Marine. “I needed a place to store my boat and at the time it was a business that fit my interest, said Tom. And better yet it was across the street from our home!”
In 2016 after experiencing severe dizziness Carolyn was diagnosed with three brain tumors. After two major brain surgeries and months of therapy she is slowly recovering her balance. Their faith, the prayer warriors at North Shore Bible Church, their small group and the constant support of family and friends girded them and gave them the strength to face this life-changing issue. Carolyn said “God was with us every step of the way.”
Tom and Carolyn both enjoy gardening and travel. Carolyn loves growing vegetables and flowers. Tom is a collector of garden scale trains and is currently building a miniature mountain in their garden that his trains will travel through. Grandpa breaks out the trains when the grandkids come over for a visit.
Tom and Carolyn have attended North Shore Bible Church since 2005 and enjoy the music, Pastor Craig’s Bible based sermons, and the friendly people. They are excited about all the changes taking place at North Shore and look forward to continued growth and community involvement.
When I asked about their hopes and dreams for the future they said, “Staying healthy, traveling and watching our family grow and prosper. Our oldest daughter, Nicole, is married and now lives in Omaha, Nebraska, second daughter Stephanie lives in Reno, Nevada and son Mathew is married and lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. Matt is in the Air Force stationed at Barksdale AFB. We have two grandchildren and we love it when they come to visit us in Lake Chelan.”
It was wonderful to spend time with the Tom and Carolyn, getting to know them better, they are such great people! And folks that’s the purpose of these stories because now you know the Tobey’s much better! We have an amazing congregation at North Shore Bible Church and we are getting to know them one story at a time.
By Norm Manly