Thomas Joseph Hassler passed away peacefully November 30, 2021, in Bayside surrounded by his loving family. Tom was born January 6, 1934, to Joseph Francis Hassler and Margaret Moore Hassler in McCook, Nebraska. Born the eldest of four children, Tom grew up working in the family store and enjoyed playing sports, duck hunting, fishing, and boating. Tom graduated from McCook High School in 1952, lettering in football his junior and senior year. He attended McCook Community College and went on to attend the University of Nebraska where he earned a BS in Botany and Zoology in 1957.

Tom married Patricia Joan Kitchen on December 27, 1956. After his graduation they moved to Logan Utah where he continued his schooling at the University of Utah earning an MS degree and a Ph.D in Fishery Biology. Tom assisted with research projects and taught introductory Botany and Plant Taxonomy labs and Fish Biology labs. He also worked two seasons as game checker for the US Fish and Game. Tom and Pat had four children while in Utah: Jed Thomas, Michael Byrn, Wesley Joseph and Tracy Ann.

After graduation the family moved to Pierre, South Dakota where Tom worked for the U S Fish and Wildlife Service at the National Reservoir Research Program conducting field studies and research on fish populations and their habitat. He regularly spoke to area high school and elementary students about ecology and was a regional judge for high school science fairs. While in Pierre, Tom was active in the Lutheran Church, volunteered as a Cub Master for the Scouts, and served as vice president then president of the Pierre Federal Employee Credit Union.

In late 1972, the family moved to Bayside, California where he and Pat resided until his death. Tom was Assistant Leader of the California Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at Humboldt State University from 1973 – 1995 where he was a research biologist and a professor of Fisheries. Tom developed and taught a graduate level course in his area of expertise, Reservoir Development and Fisheries Management. He supervised the graduate programs for many students as major professor and research projects director. He retired in 1997 as the Acting Leader of the unit.

Upon retirement, Tom and Pat began to travel throughout the United States and Alaska, Canada, and Europe. Tom was an active member of the Lutheran Church of Arcata where he held numerous positions. Tom was a man of strong Christian faith, a devoted husband and father. He enjoyed birdwatching, agate hunting and spending time with family and friends.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Margaret Hassler and sister, Mary Catherine Derauf. Tom is survived by his wife Patricia, his sister Roseanne (Hassler) Ruby and husband Richard of Lincoln, Nebraska, his brother Daniel Hassler and wife Cynthia of Crete, Nebraska, and his children: Jed Thomas Hassler and wife Jeannette of Arcata, California, Michael Byrn Hassler and wife Pamela of La Conner, Washington, Wesley Joseph Hassler and wife Mariann of Fieldbrook, California, and Tracy Ann Hassler-Jacobsen and husband Jeffrey of Mesa, Arizona. Tom is also survived by 10 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.

Memorial Services will be held at the Lutheran Church of Arcata Saturday, February 19, 2022, at 1 p.m. following county COVID-19 protocols. A small reception will be held after the service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Thomas Hassler’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.