Dr. Tom Tutko


Dr. Thomas Arthur Tutko

Emeritus Professor of Psychology

Sept. 8, 1931 – Nov. 6, 2014 

Thomas Arthur Tutko passed away peacefully on Thursday morning. He touched many lives through his energetic enthusiasm for life.

Tom was born in Gallitzin,PA and graduated from Gallitzin High School. He joined the Marines for a couple of years and then went to Northwestern University where he earned a doctorate in psychology.

He arrived at San Jose State University in September 1961 where he taught a variety of psychology classes. His students loved his classes and they nominated him for “The Distinquished Teaching Award.”

Tom also had an exceptional talent for public speaking, was very humorous, dynamic, and had a passion for sports. Consequently, he did speeches all over the United States and other countries as well. He wrote five books and several papers, developed a psychological test, gave several thousand speeches, taught a hundred plus classes, and counseled athletes, teams, individuals and companies. He was on popular television shows such as the Johnny Carson Show and worked with teams such as the 49er’s and the Miami Dolphins. During his 38 year career he literally touched the lives of thousands of people through his speaking and writing. He lived life fully!

Professor Lynda Heiden, whose masters thesis Tom chaired, remarked that he was one of the funnest people she’d ever met. Along with Bruce Ogilvie, Tom was pivotal in developing the field of Sports Psychology, which is highlighted in this 1974 article in People Magazine.

Tom is survived by his loving wife, Kathy; devoted children Ann Phipps and Mark Tutko of San Jose, Jane Tutko Donovan of Danville, and Sharon Tutko of St. Louis, PA. He is survived by his grandchildren Natalie and Olivier Phipps of San Jose, Jasmine Donovan of Danville, Ari and Effie Tutko of Bellevue, WA, Sonia Tutko of San Jose, and Simon Avrushenko of St. Louis, PA and one great grandchild Ernest Dorcich of San Jose. He is survived by his step children Chad Payton of Aptos and Travis Payton of San Jose and step grandchildren Quemille Caldwell of Antioch, Skyler and Kayden Payton of San Jose and two great step grandchildren Wayne and Willow Hayes of Antioch. He is also survived by his sister Rosie Benzie of Gallitzin, PA. And last but not least, he is survived by his beloved caregiver of seven years, Jose Alvarez Zamora of Aptos. Tom’s humorous, energetic, enthusiastic spirit of joy for life will always be endearingly remembered and bring a sparkle to those of us who knew him.

Private memorial services were held.

Adapted from original obituary published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Nov. 18, 2014 

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