Thomas Lee Caldwell, 80, of Houston, Texas, joined his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on October 16, 2019. Tom passed away in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by his beloved family and caregivers. Loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to everyone, Tom’s kindness and genuine delight in others was his essence.
A native Houstonian, Tom was born on September 3, 1939, at St. Joseph Hospital. He graduated from Mirabeau B. Lamar High School, where he excelled in science and was a marksman in ROTC. Tom studied science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the rowing crew, and he graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in physics. Tom’s 41-year career as an exploration geophysicist in oil and gas began at Shell, in the Bellaire Research Center, and continued at Superior Oil, Pennzoil, and Devon Energy. Tom was a longtime member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and he loved geophysics not only for its intellectual excitement, but also for the camaraderie, especially the deep and long-lasting friendships developed while working on exploration projects from the Gulf of Suez to the Gulf of Mexico, including the historic Alma field in Egypt, and Gulf of Mexico offshore blocks Garden Banks 161 and West Cameron 580 (“Red Dog” project).
In his leisure time, Tom enjoyed stamp, coin and comic collecting, camping, sailing, astronomy, traveling, and relaxing at the family beach house. During retirement, he especially relished good food and conversation with Carolyn, family and friends, and treasured time with his grandchildren. He and Carolyn also enjoyed attending St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in West University Place. In recent years, Tom took special pleasure in Carolyn’s creation of their dream garden, with year-round flowering plants, vegetables, and fruit trees. From figs and pomegranates to Meyer lemons, kumquats and satsumas, their yield nourished Tom and all who visited during his last years of cancer treatment.
The Caldwell Family extends a special thank you to the kind and dedicated teams at Houston Hospice, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and to Tom’s and Carolyn’s loving caregivers for their strength and support during his final days at home.
Tom is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Carolyn Alexander Caldwell; daughter and son-in-law Natalye Lorraine Appel and John Joseph Casbarian; son and daughter-in-law Patrick Carlton Appel and Sondra Haynes Appel; grandchildren John Thomas Appel, Claudia Alexandra Caldwell Casbarian and fiancé Victor James Benavides, Mark Stewart Appel, and Julia Helen Steele Casbarian; sisters-in-law Nancy Alexander Fagley and Frances Alexander Thomasson; and many loving nieces, nephews and extended family. He was preceded in death by his mother Viola Frank Caldwell, aunt and second-mother Hester Frank Hitt; mother-in-law and father-in-law Fannie Mae Steele Alexander and Jesse Lee Alexander Sr.; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Merle Leefe Alexander and Jesse Lee Alexander Jr., and brother-in-law Daniel Howard Thomasson.
Following a private family graveside service at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery, friends of the family are cordially invited to a celebration of Tom’s life and reception at 1:00 pm on Wednesday November 13, at Bradshaw Carter Funeral Home, 1734 West Alabama Street, Houston, Texas 77098.
The family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in Tom’s name be made to Star of Hope Mission, P.O. Box 1505, Houston TX 77251-1505; or Open Door Mission, 5803 Harrisburg Blvd, Houston, TX 77011.
Star of Hope Mission
4848 Loop Central Dr., Suite 500, Houston TX 77081
Open Door Mission
5803 Harrisburg Blvd., Houston TX 77011