Obituary: Thomas David Rodrique 1925 - 2022

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Tom Rodrique
Thomas David Rodrique was born September 14, 1925, to parents David and Rosa (Bensussen) Rodrique, and grew up in Aberdeen, WA. He died on March 4, 2022, at the age of 96. He was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn (Nerud) Rodrique and his brother Mair Rodrique. 

Tom graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in music and received his master’s degree in music from Seattle University in 1955. In 1944 he studied viola and conducting with Francis Aranyi, the founding conductor of the Seattle Youth Symphony, and joined the orchestra that year. 

In 1945 Tom was selected as Mr. Aranyi's assistant conductor and in 1950 became the first leader of the Little Symphony, now known as the Debut Symphony Orchestra. 

In 1948 Tom performed Mozart Symphonia Concertante at a Youth Symphony concert with Evelyn Nerud. This was the beginning of a relationship that blossomed into a loving marriage for 61 years until her death in 2011.

Tom was a member of the Seattle University music staff from 1954 to 1958 when he joined the music staff of the Shoreline School District. In 1962 when Shorecrest High School first opened, Tom became the conductor of the orchestra program until his retirement in 1983. In 2000 Tom was inducted into the Washington Music Educators Hall of Fame. 

He was a beloved teacher and mentor to many and stayed in contact with them through all these years. How many people have 200 guests at their 90th birthday party? In addition to his work at Shorecrest, in 1977 Tom became the first conductor of the newly formed Cascade Youth Symphony.

After retirement in 1983, Tom and his beloved wife Evelyn traveled extensively around the world. They traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico for over 30 years during the winter months and made many lifelong friends. As weather warmed up, they lived at their beautiful home in Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, welcoming many friends and family as guests. He is missed but will be remembered by all whose lives he touched.

Tom is survived by nieces Robin Plotnik (Darryll) and Susan Burget (Chuck) and their families. At Tom’s request there will be a private family burial. Remembrances may be made to the Deer Harbor Community Club, the Kline Galland Home, or your favorite charity.


Unknown March 14, 2022 at 7:36 PM  

I loved you so much as my teacher and will never forget you. I am so glad we reconnected a few times since my high school years with you. Our visit to Orcas with you was so wonderful and you are truly a Treasure to so many people. I am so happy to have known you and had you as a part of my life.
Robin James

JW March 17, 2022 at 12:55 PM  

I remember Mr. Rodrique from music classes at Paramount Park Elementary in the 1960s. He helped me learn to play percussion instruments. I’m so glad to see that he had such a wonderful life.

Dan Bentson,  July 20, 2022 at 4:56 PM  

Mr. Rodrique was a great man. He cared about me as a person. My time as a student with him was too short and I couldn't appreciate it at the time but he was wonderful. My mother knew him (my sister was in orchestra) and I think they were nearly friends. The time I spent under his direction is something I will always cherish. Why? Because he cared about me. That matters. For anyone who reads this, please take a moment and consider how often you make others feel valued and cared for. Now take a hint from Mr. Rodrique and go make a small difference if you can. It's worth it.

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