Thomas Wade Van Bebber
January 10, 1938 – April 27, 2016
Thomas Wade Van Bebber, 78, passed away unexpectedly at Pioneers Memorial Hospital on April 27, 2016. Thomas is survived by his wife Carolyn Ann Van Bebber (Butters), his children, Tommy (Tish) Van Bebber, Robin Pierce and Stephanie (Terry) Van Bebber Guler; 8 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren one of which that he raised as his own daughter and was living with him at the time of his death, Alexandra Bree Rogers, and multiple nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews all who he loved dearly.
He is survived by his older brother/sister John Mack (Alice) Van Bebber and Gayle V. Brown and his three younger brothers Gene (Betty), Dean, and Rodney (Lyn) Van Bebber. Thomas is preceded in death by his father and mother John and Maxine Van Bebber, his younger brother Ronnie Van Bebber, and his daughter Kamie Jo Kellum.
Thomas was born in Comanche, OK on January 10, 1938 to John and Maxine Van Bebber. Thomas moved to the West Coast as a child during the Great Depression (to work in the Grapes in Washington, eventually following the crops to Brawley, CA). He attended Brawley Union High School and started working in the packing sheds at the age of 13.
He then met his high school sweetheart and married her when she was only 16 years old. Thomas and Carolyn were married on January 18, 1958 in Winterhaven, CA and were expecting their first born child only 3 months later. After that followed the birth of their 3 other children in a time period of 5 years.
During this period of time and throughout the rest of his life Thomas worked in the packing sheds and owned several Agricultural businesses. He grew lettuce, cantaloupes, watermelons, and many other agricultural products. Thomas also shipped and sold produce while engaging in all of the above practices. Being engaged in the Agriculture occupation is where Thomas met most of his lifetime friends.
Thomas was a brilliant and helpful man. Any time somebody was in need of some help they could always count on him to have their back. He helped and cared for so many people throughout his lifetime. He was an active supporter of FFA and 4H and loved to purchase many kids’ animals at the California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta.
One of Thomas’s favorite activities was to attend the horse races whenever he possibly could. During the summer he would rent summer homes and make sure all of his kids, grandkids, and great grandkids got to attend with him. He was definitely a family man. He also loved to fish and golf (Del Rio Country Club member for years). Thomas loved the finer things in life and always strived to provide them for everyone.
The Chapel Service will be held on Saturday, May 21 at Frye Chapel and Mortuary at 10:00 a.m.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, May 21 at Frye Chapel and Mortuary from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
The Burial will be held on Saturday May 21 at Riverview Cemetery after the service.
Lunch will be provided at the Stockman’s Club in Brawley so that family and friends can share memories of Thomas and celebrate his life.