Thomas Edward Paalman

December 2, 1942 ~ March 29, 2021 (age 78)


Thomas (Tom) Edward Paalman, 78, of Santa Fe, New Mexico died peacefully at his home after a brief battle with cancer on March 29, 2021 with his wife, Leah, and loving family by his side.  He was born December, 2, 1942 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to parents, Dr. Russell John Paalman, and Kathryn DeVries Paalman.  He graduated from Creston High School in 1960.  He was married to Lois (Leah) Paalman in 2014 at First Presbyterian Church SF surrounded by family and good friends.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 30 years, Susan Dell Paalman, his parents, brother-in-law, Jon Mark Schoon, and sister-in-law, Rebecca Paalman.

Mr. Paalman’s childhood was busy with Boy Scouts, his church youth group, YMCA camp, the high school swim team, and golf.  He enjoyed the outdoors, and liked to bird hunt with his Father and his beloved dog, Puff. 

In high school Mr. Paalman became interested photography which led to his first career job working as a buyer at Zody’s for camera and electronic products in Southern California.  From there his expertise and success as buyer led to a sales job with Kodak, which included business trips to Japan throughout the years.  After that he joined Mr. Coffee as an account executive where he was instrumental in marketing their product to major retailers throughout the United States.  He was also involved with the launching of the Croc Pot.  He was a natural entrepreneur eventually joining forces with Chip Carter at Pacific Sales Group where he was President.  PSG would later merge with Morgan & Sampson, Inc. and became Morgan Sampson USA where the company successfully represented manufacturers both nationally and internationally.  His position as President for those companies led them to financial success to become one of the most well-known and successful sales brokerages in the industry.  Tom was adored by his employees and treated them like family.

Mr. Paalman was an active member of First Presbyterian Church Santa Fe where he served as an Elder, Chairman of the Organ Fund, the Pastor Nominating Committee, and volunteered at the Interfaith Shelter.  He donated his time and money to the missions of the church. 

Mr. Paalman loved his wives, children, grandchildren and family with a big loving heart.  He was generous and took pleasure helping his family, church and people.  He adored his Labrador retrievers, Chelsea, Casino, Kayla, Marco, Polo, Little Bit, Polo II, and Shelby whom he loved to hike on the many beautiful Santa Fe trails. He was an avid art collector, and took pride in his extensive collection of Contemporary, Native American, and Southwestern art.  He enjoyed his long career in the consumer products industry, liked being around people, and loved to have fun.  His smile and laugh would light up a room.  He was a kind outstanding gentleman who touched the hearts of many during his incredible life.

Mr. Paalman is survived by his wife Leah, his children, Koren Ann Paalman, her partner, Emily Schu, both of Venice Beach, California, Russell John Paalman II, his wife, Christina Paalman, his grandchildren, Francesca (Frankie) Paalman, and Maximillian (Max) Paalman of Costa Mesa, California.  In addition, he is survived by his former wife, Mother of his children, Annalise Hunt of Laguna, California, his siblings, John K. Paalman of Grand Haven, MI/Bonita Beach, FL, Mary Kay Schoon of Holland, MI, Gretchen Latowsky of Reading, MA, and 7 nieces and nephews.

Berardinelli Funeral home is in charge of the arrangements, and condolences may be posted on their website. Services will be held in Santa Fe at First Presbyterian Church and in Grand Rapids, MI at a later date TBD due to the pandemic. Memorial contributions should kindly be directed to First Presbyterian Church SF, 208 Grant Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501, The Interfaith Shelter SF, 2801 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505, and the Espanola Humane Society, 108 Hamm Parkway, Espanola, NM 87532. 

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