Lasting Memories

Thomas Eldon Kotoske
Aug. 11, 1938-Feb. 5, 2019
Palo Alto, California

Thomas Eldon Kotoske was born on August 11, 1938 in South Bend, Indiana. He died at his Palo Alto home surrounded by family February 5, 2019. His death was the result of complications of stroke. Kotoske graduated from St. Joseph High School in South Bend. He later served in the United States Marine Corp, earning an honorable discharge in 1961. Kotoske attended Purdue University where he was president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and in 1963 graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. He graduated with honors from the Indiana University School of Law in 1966. Kotoske was named by United States Attorney General Robert Kennedy to be an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles, where he served from 1969-1974. In 1974 he became Attorney-in-Charge of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Office in San Francisco. In these positions he prosecuted many cases involving many well-known organized crime figures. In 1979 he opened a private law practice in Palo Alto, California, specializing in civil rights and environmental damage lawsuits. Besides his professional career, Kotoske was co-founder with his wife, Karen, of Amistad International, a non-profit charity which supports programs for orphans and impoverished families in several countries. He was a passionate wood-carver known for his carvings of St. Francis. He was an avid volunteer gardener on Tuesdays at Palo Alto’s Gamble Gardens, and a participant and leader of current event seminars in Palo Alto’s Avenidas Senior Center and Menlo Park’s Little House. Kotoske is survived by his wife of 46 years, Karen Hanson Kotoske; brothers Jerome, Brian and David Kotoske and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Louise Kotoske and his brothers Donald and Roger. His many friends will remember him for his lively interest in almost every topic, from religion to gardening to art, as well as his animated conversations and loyal friendship. Mrs. Kotoske would especially like to thank her husband’s compassionate caregivers Kato Tonga, Percival Cristobal, Susan Delgado and Leah Macasu.

From Millie Chethik
March 9, 2019

For many years Tom Kotoske was a valuable participant and leader of the Current Events discussion groups at Avenidas and Little House. When Tom spoke everyone really listened to his articulate, intelligent, knowledgeable words. He had a great presence and was a tremendous asset toward stimulating discussion and thought. His light will be missed.

From tom brickley
March 6, 2019

Bigger than life. His stories at family meals were wonderful, entertaining and only second to his interest in everyone else. He will be remember and missed.

From Tim Ames
March 6, 2019

A better friend I never had. 30 years ago I told his wife Karen that if I had been allowed just one friend in life that Tom would be my choice. He was always there for me.

From Roland Neufeld
March 5, 2019

Uncle Tom played an outsized role in shaping who I became as an adult. His curiosity, friendship and love of life are sorely missed.

From Karen Kotoske
March 5, 2019

Tom Kotoske