Obituary: Thomas Earl Estlow

Thomas Earl Estlow

Thomas “Tom” Earl Estlow died after a long-term illness on Sunday, May 30, 2021, at home, surrounded by his family. He was 79.

Tom was born to Thomas Estlow Sr. and Hazel Estlow in North Hollywood and raised there along with his brother, James. He graduated Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, Calif., in 1959. He attended Pierce College and Cal State-Long Beach before being drafted in the U.S. Army in 1966 where he served his country at Fort Eustis, Vir.

Tom began his lifeguard career in 1960 at Sun Valley pool where he met his wife of 57 years, Karmen. He joined the Los Angeles City Lifeguards in 1963, working in towers and headquarters, served on the dive team and ultimately became LA County Boat Captain of Baywatch Del Rey, before retiring in 1999. During this time, he competed in triathlons, swims and travelled to Australia for surf boat racing. He also served as sheriff’s reserve deputy for almost 20 years.

Tom and Karmen moved to Paradise Cove, Malibu, in 1971 where they raised their children, Trevor and Cindy. With them he shared his love of gardening, hunting, fishing, camping and everything ocean. After retirement, he enjoyed many sailing voyages including across the Atlantic Ocean to Ireland as well as from Hawaii to Tahiti and along the California coast. He was an active member of the South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club and served as commodore.  

His favorite hobby was racing his 14-foot sailboat with Karmen as his crew and he enjoyed playing his many ukuleles.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents and brother. He is survived by his wife, Karmen, his son Trevor, daughter-in-law Emily, of Blue Lake, Calif., daughter Cindy Holmes and son-in-law Sebastian of Boulder Creek, Calif., and three grandchildren, Ayla and Louis Holmes and Elsa Estlow, as well as numerous nieces and nephews including Jennifer Estlow of Reseda.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, A paddle-out in his honor is being planned.