In high school, Tom was the captain of the Highland High track team. He was a natural athlete and took third in state in cross country his senior year. He received a track scholarship to the University of Utah, where he was the third generation to affiliate with the Sigma Chi fraternity and made many lifelong friends.
He married his sweetheart Lisa in 1974 and they remain married 45 years later. They had three children and later on adopted their grandchild. Tom was a devoted and incredible husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He had a heart of gold-his children and wife never for one second doubted that he loved them unconditionally. He was known for his warmth and presence-his ability to talk to anyone and make them feel important, comfortable, and welcome. He was also known to tear up at any touching story, earning the nickname "Tom Tenderheart." Although his family lost him early, we still received more than a lifetime's worth of love.
Tom had an independent spirit, so after years of working for companies in the title insurance industry, he started his own successful business and named it Scansystems. Lisa and the kids all helped with the family business, where Tom's resourcefulness and work ethic set an example for us all.
Tom's loves included golf, hiking and camping with his family, and exploring the mountains and desert in his beloved VW buses. He was young at heart, spontaneous, playful, mischievous, and always making friends. He adored kids and animals, and they adored him, too. He had a special connection with cats and dogs, his cat Milo always being on his lap. When he helped out at his granddaughter's daycare, the kids fought over him at recess. He was a second father to many nieces, nephews, and friends. He is deeply loved and will be deeply missed.
Tom is survived by his loving wife, Lisa Marie Payne; his son Zak, daughters Rebecca and Sarah (Dominic), and his granddaughter Grace Linscomb, who he was fortunate to adopt; his brother Mike (Lyn) and sister-in-law Beth; his mother-in-law Betty Jo Payne, sister-in-law Julie Hardy, brothers-in-law John (Denise), Glenn (Karen), Kendall (former wife Kerri), Dan (Kim), and many beloved nieces, nephews, and friends.
Tom was preceded in death by his mother and father, brother Jeffrey J. Jensen, father-in-law Wendell E. Payne, and other aunts, uncles, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, his family asks that you donate to an animal shelter of your choosing. And if you're golfing on the 10th hole of Bonneville Golf Course or hiking in the Utah desert, think fondly of him.
Due to COVID-19, his celebration of life will be held at a later time that is safe for us to gather and give Tom a deserving farewell. Updates will be available on Tom's obituary site (yet to come), as well as personally from family.
Classmate Comments -
Tom was really a great guy. I know that phrase is over used, but in Tom’s case, if the track shoes fit, you run with’em. And run well he did! - John Felt
I regret hearing this news. Tom was a dear friend. I have the best adventure memories of Tom. We would sneak his parents car and my Dad’s International Harvester Scout on occasion and go on adventure rides before we were licensed to drive. We’d go visit Kathy Snow and other Highland girls. Somehow we got away with it. Another time, I went into Stevens and Brown Sports to buy my first protective Jockstrap “Cup” for playing football. Tom’s Mother was my sales person. She asked me “what size are you”? I remember turning red and being totally embarrassed and then she said, “what is your waist size.” I think she got a kick out of embarrassing me. Rest In Peace dear friend. - Michael Gordon Coulam
I am saddened to hear of Tom’s death and also hear that it followed years of bad health. It’s hard to imagine Tom struggling physically when he was so energetic in high school. He was a great cross country runner and always had plenty of extra energy for mischief as his close friends will testify!
(Yes Mike, I remember that summer and your visits; I think Chilton also came along. The song we all loved on the radio was “Wipe-out”. Seems like yesterday.) - Kathleen Snow McKean
Sending love and prayers to family. - Kayleen Daniels English
Such sad news. Tom was always full of life and living large. Prayers of comfort for him and his family. - William R. Stringham
Tom was the lifeblood of Highland High for the class fo '69. He covered a wide gamut of relationships. He and his brother Jeff played a large role in my college life. Saddened to know he had been ill for some time. Losing two 'brothers' in less than one year is hard to take.
Godspeed bro. - Robert Richards
I was saddened to hear of Tom’s death. I remember him as great cross country runner and a good friend of Kathy Snow’s. - Linda Adams DeVore
He was my 5th-6th grade boyfriend...it's so sad to hear of classmates passing. - Shirley Keiser
I have fond memories of Tommy. I really enjoyed our association on the track team. Prayers and condolences to family members. - Steven C. Harker