Thomas B. “Tom” Eastman, who along with his wife was an outdoor enthusiast and was also an accomplished fly fisherman, cyclist and photographer, died Sunday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at Symphony Manor in Roland Park. The former Cockeysville resident was 89.
Thomas Barker Eastman, son of Dr. Nicholson Joseph Eastman, professor of midwifery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and chief obstetrician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Loretta Rutz Eastman, registered nurse and homemaker, was born in Baltimore and grew up in Homeland.
From 1933 to 1935, he lived with his family in China, when his father was a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Beijing Union Medical College.
After graduating in 1951 from the Gilman School, he received a bachelor’s degree in 1955 from Yale University. He married the former Alice June “Ajax” Waterman in 1956 and the couple lived in Charlottesville while attending law school at the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1960.
The couple moved to Baltimore in 1960 when Mr. Eastman began practicing law at Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver. For the past decade until his retirement in 2012, he had practiced solo at Towson.
“I joined the firm in 1972 and being the rough person that I was, Tom was my office neighbor and was a great help to me,” said John A. Wolf, who still practices law at the within the firm, which is now called Baker Donelson. “He was clearly old school as a litigator. He was calm, discreet and efficient.
“Together my dad and mom Ajax raised four boys, taking us hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and later the Adirondacks of New York, the Cascades of Washington State, the Wind River Range of Wyoming and the Himalayas in Nepal,” wrote a son, Timothy W. Eastman of Idlewylde, in a biographical profile of his father. “His love of nature and physical exercise was the perfect [complement] to our mother’s love for nature and her tireless dedication to environmental causes.
Mr Eastman embraced his wife’s enthusiasm for hiking, kayaking and spending time outdoors, activities which “fuelled and informed his interest in the environment”, the Baltimore Sun observed after his death in 2018.
In 1970, Ms. Eastman represented the Junior League and was a founding member of what became the first modern statewide environmental organization, known as the Maryland Conservation Council. A year later, she led the campaign for mandatory deposit-return beverage container legislation, which came into effect in the early 1980s.
“Dad was a man of many interests, which passed down to us all,” his son wrote. “After spending years traveling the 48,4000 feet of New Hampshire, he developed an interest in bicycle racing. He quickly won state championships in his age group and cycled from Baltimore to New Haven for his 20th reunion at Yale.
Not content with hiking, Mr. Eastman took up rock climbing, an interest he shared with another son, Thomas B. “Todd” Eastman, who lives in Putney, Vermont. With another son, Andrew D. “Dusty” Eastman of Centreville, it was the art of fly fishing, and when his fourth son, Nicholson J. “Nick” Eastman, was thrilled with the challenge of skiing alpine, Mr. Eastman joins him on the slopes.
Mr. Eastman and his wife were deeply involved with the Spruce Knob Outdoor Education Center in West Virginia, which began in 1972 as the Woodlands & Whitewater Institute.
He had been its president for many years while his wife led many school groups on Spruce Knob lessons. Woodland has expanded its operations into Nepal and South America, and has now come full circle with Washington-based The Mountain Institute and Spruce Knob operating as Experience Learning.
Makalu Barun National Park in Nepal was another project the couple had a common interest in through Spruce Knob. The experience led to many trips to Nepal and Tibet.
Daniel Taylor, co-founder of the Woodlands & Whitewater Institute, which later became the Mountain Institute, got to know Mr. Eastman through his parents who attended his church.
“When we started Mountain Institute, Tom, who was so nice, and because of his kindness, he jumped in and wanted to help,” said Taylor, who is now president of Future Generations University at Franklin. , West Virginia.
“Of course when we started the organization we had no buildings, but Tom was brought in to help with legal aid and even wield a gavel,” he said. “When we started the national park project in Nepal, for Tom, the question was not where the money came from. He just said, “What is it, let’s do it.” He always wanted to make the world a better place. »
“He was greatly influenced by Ajax,” said Mr Wolf. “Tom was an environmental lawyer before there were environmental lawyers and he was always very sensitive to these issues.”
“Tom was the luckiest guy in the world thanks to Ajax. They were a real couple and a real team,” Mr Taylor said.
Mr. Taylor recalled when Mr. Eastman decided to visit West Virginia because it was a beautiful day.
The morning sun
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“He got on his bike and rode 200 miles here,” he said. “Tom was an environmentalist for example.”
Mr. Eastman’s fascination with photography began during the Gilman era, and one of the highlights of his life was accompanying famed National Geographic photographer Galen Rowell, who was a wildlife photographer and a mountaineer, during a mission in Tibet.
Mr Eastman was a longtime member of Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, which has since merged with Govans Presbyterian Church. He had been session clerk and was actively involved in outreach work in Guatemala, where he had traveled extensively. He was also a board member for many years of the Eudowood Foundation.
Dr. Ken Lewis and his wife, Bonny, were close friends of the Eastmans. They knew them from the church and were traveling companions. They had also visited Guatemala together.
“I also did a lot of environmental things with Ajax,” Dr Lewis recalled. “Tom was very adventurous and a great photographer. He took thousands of pictures. I remember he went to Nepal once to photograph snow leopards but never saw them. Tom was very friendly and outgoing, and that’s what made him such a good photographer, especially when it came to photographing indigenous people.”
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on June 4 at Govans Presbyterian Church at 5828 York Road.
In addition to his four sons, Mr. Eastman is survived by four grandchildren.