August 10, 1998 – April 2, 2019

Tom Schoderbek, age 20, a kind, gentle, beautiful soul, was tragically taken from us on April 2, 2019. Tom was born in Helena, Montana on August 10, 1998, to William and Kathleen Schoderbek. He moved with his family to Bend, Oregon, when he was twelve years old. Even as a young child he was a thoughtful, caring, compassionate human being who was always looking out for others and taking care of us all.

He loved his family, his friends, and his dog, Zoey. Tom was loved by everyone whose path he crossed. His best friends throughout life were his older sister, Hadley, and his younger brother, Sam. Tom, Sam, and Hadley had a sibling bond that was like no other. They truly never fought and had a language all their own. Tom adored and protected his brother and sister, and that bond only grew stronger as they grew older. The three of them were practically inseparable.

Tom was incredibly humble and yet there was little he didn’t excel at. He was an amazing artist and could write beautifully. Tom was a sophomore at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He was a Presidential Scholar and in the Honors Program studying Chemical and Biological Engineering with a Biomedical minor. He worked as a mentor to students in the Engineering Honors Program, was a Teaching Assistant for an engineering computer class, and was chosen to work in a prestigious research lab. He called himself a chemistry nerd and his face would light up when he was talking about chemistry.

Tom also excelled at sports, especially Nordic skiing and cross-country running. Through those sports he had many close friendships with his teammates and coaches. He went to Nationals four times in both Nordic skiing and cross-country running, including once in middle school. He was notorious for his grit in races and being able to put everything on the line. He was like that about life: he never did anything halfway, he put his full self into everything he did.

Tom had such a bright future and many exciting plans. He loved Montana and the West. He was happiest when he was outdoors in the mountains. He loved to ski, trail run, mountain bike, fly fish, and camp. In the last couple of years he had become passionate about backcountry skiing and enjoyed going on trips with the backcountry ski club at CU Boulder.

He loved sharing adventures with his girlfriend, Alex Heisler, and they had just returned from a wonderful backpacking trip through Canyonlands National Park. He was lucky to have found his soulmate at such a young age and they were looking forward to an amazing future together. On the outside, Tom had a quiet and shy demeanor. Yet, the people who knew him best know what an incredible sense of humor he had. He could be so, so funny and we will never forget the sound of his goofy laugh.

Tom had recently been diagnosed with Bipolar 2, a terrible disease. The illness caused him to periodically cycle into phenomenal depression and despair. He bravely fought the disease with the love and support of his family and close friends. Unfortunately, he lost the battle last week and has left us with broken hearts that will never mend.

A Celebration of Life ceremony and reception will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 4-7PM at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bend. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Central Oregon Trail Alliance or The National Park Foundation.

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