September 25, 1928 - February 21, 2017
Thomas Heumann was a longtime resident and active member and supporter of the Ashland community. He was involved in OSF Theatre, OLLI, the Traffic Safety Commission, and served on the Board of Directors of both the Rogue Valley Symphony and the Schneider Museum of Art. Thomas was deeply involved with chamber music and with Jefferson Public Radio, and he volunteered for Dogs for the Deaf.
Born in Chemnitz, Germany in 1928, Thomas Heumann learned to be a survivor. As the son of a Christian mother and a Jewish father, Thomas was considered a “mischling” (half-breed) in WWII Germany and was forced to leave high school at the age of 14. In 1944, at the age of 15, having just lost his mother to cancer, he was put into a labor camp. His father died in an air raid in 1945, just weeks before the end of the war.
Fully orphaned at 16, Thomas had to make life decisions on his own. After the war, he studied mechanical engineering in Munich, receiving the German equivalent of a master degree in 1951. Also in 1951 Thomas married Edith Reiss from Traunstein, Germany, and in 1953 he emigrated with her and their young son to California. They had two more sons and a daughter. After 53 years of marriage, Edith died in 2004. In 2009 Thomas married Mary Louise Hartman, also a longtime Ashland resident.
Before settling in Ashland in 1980, Thomas was an engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area where he designed mechanical calculators for Marchant and became their QA manager. He also designed fire-detection systems for airplanes and later, he managed the design and development of construction lasers with Spectra-Physics in Silicon Valley. After moving to Ashland he started a new career as the producer of a “video textbook” series with his son, Michael. He was also the distributor of art instruction videos and, along with Edith, ran the Neil Creek House Bed and Breakfast for many years.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Louise Heumann; his sister, Ulrike; his daughter, Carol; sons Michael, Stephan, and Christopher; and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, Thomas requested that contributions be made to Dogs for the Deaf, the Nature Conservancy, or Compassion and Choices.