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Thomas Shotwell Padgett


thomas padgett

February 2nd, 1941 - August 25th, 2021

Dr. Thomas Shotwell Padgett (“Tom”) was born on February 2, 1941, to Claude Everett Padgett, Jr., (better known as “Stump”) and La Verne Shotwell Padgett. Stump was a math professor, and he had been teaching in Atlanta, Georgia, when Tom was born. The family soon moved back to Texas, their original home. Tom always wished that he had been born in Texas and lived in the state for almost 60 years. He had an older brother, Claude Everett III (d. 2021), and he was particularly close to his uncle and aunt, Travis and Anna Padgett, and their children, Pat and Mary Ann.

Despite Tom’s prodigious intellectual abilities, he did not like school. After barely graduating from high school, he spent some months working on oil platforms, but witnessing the regular mutilation of his colleagues encouraged him to give college a try. His father was by then teaching at Arkansas State University and helped Tom attend.

Upon arriving on campus, Tom asked what the hardest course of study was. The answer given was physics, so he chose to major in that; apparently, he had made up his mind to succeed. He excelled in his studies, graduated with his bachelor’s, and went on to earn a master’s in physics at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He was hired by Boeing and worked on the early stages of the Saturn 5 rocket, the rocket that took humanity to the moon.

After working several years in physics, Tom decided to change careers to medicine. He attended Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, Louisiana, and settled on orthopedic surgery. He established a flourishing practice in Houston, Texas.

At the height of his surgical career, Tom was diagnosed with a crippling autoimmune condition known as ankylosing spondylitis. He eventually gave up his practice and began working from home for an insurance company. The bright side to that devastating disappointment was that he was now free to move to a place he had always loved to visit on vacation: Colorado. Only his son remained at home, and they moved to Boulder in 2000. He was always thankful for the natural beauty of his new home.

Tom was deeply intellectually curious, a trait which burned brightly until the end of his life. In particular, Tom had a passion for history. His personal library spanned a staggering breadth of interests: math, literature, art, history (Roman and Military history being a particular focus), religion, politics, archaeology, sharpshooting, cooking, gardening, espionage, forgery, and much more. Two days before he died, he was reading a new book about the man who had flown the Enola Gay (the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima), and two days after his death, a biography of St. Thomas More arrived at his home.

In many ways, Tom lived for his hobbies both before and after retirement, including golf, flying, car racing, the outdoors, movies, music (Blues, Rock, and Bluegrass in particular, with an interest in both the banjo and the guitar), football, astronomy, and marble sculpture, to name a few. His interest in flying and racing were driven by a love of speed, acceleration, and power. A world traveler, he pursued fine dining throughout his life, and had a particular fondness of Montecristo cigars.

Near the end of his life, Tom spent much of his time growing in his Catholic faith. He and Jo Ann had been received into the Catholic Church in 2008, and Tom died trusting in Jesus and His Mercy, having received the sacraments several times in his final days. He was surrounded by his wife of forty-six years and all four of his children when he drew his last breaths. Tom was a lifelong introvert who valued the company of small groups; those of us who were blessed enough to know him well deeply admired and loved him, with his bottomless knowledge on a host of subjects and tireless, dry wit. He is survived by his wife Jo Ann, daughters Anna, Caroline, and Vanessa, son Travis, and seven grandchildren (Thomas, Penny, Adam, Patrick, Charles, Vivian, and Nicholas). He will be sorely missed.

Service Details

  • Rosary Service

    Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 9:30am

    Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church

    6739 South Boulder Road

    BOULDER, CO 80303

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 10:00am

Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church

6739 South Boulder Road