Thomas Joseph Messenger passed away unexpectedly on July 11, 2022, from natural causes.

Tom was born Thomas Joseph Messenger on September 15, 1944, at Florence Nightingale Hospital in Dallas, Texas, to Collin and Joe Messenger. In 1954, Tom moved with his family to Calgary, Alberta. When the family moved back to Dallas in 1962, Tom left to attend the University of Michigan.

Tom was extremely intelligent and fortunate to have both a highly intelligent mother who appreciated his intellect and an outgoing father who never stopped encouraging him to be more socially active.

Receiving academic honors was routine for Tom. He was the top student in Alberta in his graduating year and had the top score in Canada on one of the tests. Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Harvard University. He finally found his true calling, earning an M.S. in naval architecture from M.I.T. and going to work designing ships for the Department of the Navy while living in Arlington Virginia.

Tom applied his powerful intellect and focus to numerous interests, hobbies, and causes throughout his life. He loved classical music, computer science and programming, duplicate bridge, travel, photography, ships, naval and military history, geology, puzzles of all kinds, and literature (with a special nod to Jane Austen).

Tom walked all the time, everywhere, all his life and it served him well. He particularly loved hiking in southern Utah, a love he shared with his father. They took many rafting, hiking, and Jeep trips to Utah while Tom was still working.

Tom moved to Moab when he retired in 2002. Once in Moab, Tom was very active in the Sierra Club, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and the United States Geological Survey. Tom hiked twice a week, leading many of the hikes, and was loved by his hiking groups for his care and knowledge. He made a yearly pilgrimage to Delicate Arch on New Year’s Day: this year was the 20th New Year’s hike. A month before his death, 60 years after leaving Canada, he visited his childhood house in Calgary with his brother, Lowry; niece, Jennifer; and nephew, Eric.

Tom did not marry and had no children. He is survived by his younger brothers, Owen and Lowry, and their families.

At Tom’s request, cremation has taken place and a celebration of life will be held in Moab at a time to be announced. Testimonials and photos can be posted at