Tom Braden, who passed away suddenly Feb. 11, 2011, was known for his wonderful dedication to teaching, enthusiasm for life, tireless, upbeat energy, and big smile.

He met Sandra, his wife, at Antioch College where he graduated with a degree in biology, later receiving master’s degrees from the University of Chicago (education) and Adelphi University (English as a second language).

While still in college, he worked in Alaska at Mt. McKinley National Park as a naturalist, studied Spanish in Mexico, and worked in the education department at the Museum of Science in Boston. For 10 years, 1966 to 1976, the Bradens lived abroad. Tom taught English as a second language, first in the Peace Corps in Somalia and then in Spain and Portugal. They have four children and six grandchildren.

Upon returning to the U.S., Tom discovered an economic recession and was unable to find work as a teacher; so that first year he worked for Monmouth County, N.J., driving a bus for senior citizens. He really loved the job, especially the folks who rode the bus, as anyone who knew Tom could well imagine. Afterward, he taught in public schools until 1982, when he began his journey as a Waldorf teacher at the Waldorf School of Garden City, Long Island, where his children were already enrolled as students. He taught there for 14 years, taking two classes from sixth through eighth grades and one class the whole way, first through eighth.

After moving to the U.S., Tom continued teaching English as a second language at LaGuardia Community College in Queens every Saturday for nearly 20 years. He probably enjoyed teaching his adult students from around the world almost as much as Waldorf teaching.

Tom taught at Ashwood for many years, bringing two separate combined classes to eighth grade, including the first graduating class (from the seventh to eighth grade). He wrote a weekly column in Ashwood’s newsletter about the goings-on in the sky, the latest celestial events, such as the phases of the moon and the position of the planets in the night sky. The Bradens moved to Gloucester, Mass., in 2004 to the community of the Cape Ann Waldorf School north of Boston. Tom took a class from fourth through eighth grade. In his retirement, Tom taught main lessons at several Waldorf schools throughout New England. Tom and Sandra recently moved to Keene, N.H., to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

At Camp Glen Brook, a Waldorf camp in Marlborough, N.H., Tom spent summers as nature counselor, song leader, hike leader, and master of ceremonies, from 1983 through last summer. He volunteered regularly at Glen Brook, and was planning to teach a storytelling workshop to the staff the day he died. On the morning of his death, Tom remarked to Sandra before heading out for his walk, “The sun is shining today.”

Please join family, friends, and former students for a riverside memorial service Saturday, June 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (rain or shine) at the home of Richard Lee and Cherry Short-Lee at 2383 Western Road in Warren. The sharing circle will be held at 1:30 p.m. The event is potluck, so please bring a dish to share. For more information contact Terri Hallowell at 354-8984.