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For Tom Delucchi, the machine shop at his home in Richland was like therapy.
After a stressful day at work — he was a welding engineer at the Hanford Site — he’d come home to the shop in his garage and just tinker.
Wood work or metal work, personal projects or helping someone else, it didn’t matter. Friends would bring over furniture for help with repairs. A neighbor would ask for advice on installing a backyard sprinkler system. From the little garage shop, he helped his brother-in-law design a windmill system to power an off-the-grid home in Alaska.
“He just had an amazing amount of knowledge, he loved to be able to share it with anybody and everybody,” said Kathy Delucchi, his wife of 47 years. “He just liked passing information on.”
Mr. Delucchi died on April 1, from complications related to COVID-19. He was 69.
He didn’t just mess around in the shop. He helped friends remodel their homes. He designed and installed irrigation systems. He did little bits of gun work, refurbishing old firearms.
It was all hobby, he never charged anyone for his expertise.
He built two functional steam engines, big enough for a person to ride on, that he’d drive on special train tracks near Moses Lake. He built clocks — grandfather clocks, grandmother clocks, miniature clocks — all in full working order.
“I swear, sometimes their house was a revolving door of people coming over to see him and work on something or ask this or do that,” said his daughter Jessica Delucchi, a project manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “He always wanted to help and pass his knowledge of things on to people.”
Thomas A. Delucchi was born March 20, 1951, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He worked a variety of jobs as a teenager. He was a furniture finisher and a baker and worked for a company that maintained football equipment for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders.
He met Kathy, his future wife, at Hillsdale High in San Mateo (he was one year ahead). After graduation they married, and he joined the San Mateo Police Department, where he was an officer for several years.
He went back to school, and graduated with a degree in welding technology from the College of San Mateo.
Looking to move to a smaller community, in 1978 Mr. Delucchi accepted a job from Westinghouse to work as a welder at Hanford. He’d work at the nuclear site, first as a welder then as a welding engineer, for nearly three decades.
He loved opera; La Traviata and La Boheme were favorites. He loved desserts. His wife made pies — he had a special fondness for boysenberry — but he was just as happy with one from the grocery store.
“If it was available, he would eat it,” Kathy Delucchi said. “He just didn’t have a preference either way.”
His stint working with two NFL teams did not translate into a love of sports, with one exception. He rarely missed his daughter’s soccer games.
Middle school, high school, club teams: “He probably watched 1,000 soccer games,” Jessica Delucchi said. “He tolerated sports because of me, he was always supportive and always there.”