- 40 years old
- Date of birth: Feb 23, 1976
- Place of birth:
- Date of passing: Sep 5, 2016
- Place of passing:
|"It is indeed the brightest candles that burn the fastest" - Dave Flanders-Valencia|
Celebration of Life, Sunday September 25th at, Bald Hill Barn.
Pictures of the gathering on now on this site. Please send any photos you might have to myself or post them here. I am hoping to send an album off to Yhasmin in a couple of weeks. Please note Yhasmins new mailing address.
Yhasmin has requested that you send notes and photos directly to her as well.
Yhasmin Mendes De Moura
Rua Professor Waldemar Ramos
201, Parque Martin Cerere
Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo 12227772
You can also send notes to Thomas' father:
Oberer Weinberg 9
"I first met Thomas when he was a PhD student and then a postdoc with the Canadian Carbon Program. His intelligence, kindness and free spirit were obvious right away. He loved forests, satellites, remote sensing and putting them all together. He was a very creative being. I had the pleasure of working with him again at Goddard and he also helped me out enthusiastically when I first started at NASA HQ. The planet will surely feel his loss – I certainly will."
""Thomas and I went to kindergarten and school together, but I knew also him and his brother since i was 5 years old. So we grew up together and we had been playmates and best friends. I won´t forget his smile and his ideas. He has been helpful and truthful.
When a friend told me he passed away I felt I´ve lost a part of my childhood forever. I can´t realize, he is not alive.
You are always on my mind. You are always on my mind.""
I was a visiting scholar from Viet Nam who has worked at OSU and had good luck working with Thomas. He was a good-hearted scientist
I will truly miss you."
"I met Thomas as a graduate student, at the BIOGEOMON 2006 symposium in Santa Cruz, where Mary Martin invited us. I admired his kind attitude, amazingly clever ideas, shining smile and enthusiastic work. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. He will always be missed."
"I was one of the first to welcome Thomas to the College of Forestry, and was taken immediately by his sweet and gentle demeanor. He always greeted me with that fabulous smile and kind words. The sadness is great that we won't get to experience that again in this world, but the memories are lasting in our hearts! What a beautiful person to have in our lives!"
"I had many interactions with Thomas, in particular being able to assess him on various occasions. His scientific and personal contributions will be unforgotten - he made incredible contributions to science and life. We will always miss him."
"I have just learned of Thomas' passing, and I am heartbroken. As a former colleague of his within the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, I have the fondest memories of his smile, his friendliness, and his attention to undergraduate students. Often, he would stop by my office to grab some chocolate, and we would chat about any number of things. I loved his pup, Jazzy!! To his other friends and family, I am deeply sorry for this incredible loss. The world is much poorer without Thomas as a part of it."
"I knew Thomas all too briefly. He was leaving Goddard just as I started, and left Oregon State less than a year after I arrived. My postdoc advisor put us in touch... he raved about Thomas, calling him 'an expert on photosynthesis,' as I'll never forget. We met in person at a student committee meeting, and it was great to finally speak with this person with whom I had so many friends in common. I'm very glad to have known him even for such a brief time. Sending my deepest condolences to Thomas' loved ones, family, and friends..."
"I am saddened to learn of the passing of Thomas.Thomas supervised me when I was a visisting scholar during the past one year. He is diligent, briliant, and he always smiles. We discussed scientific research problems together six months ago, and we emailed each onter just 20 days ago. It's hard to believe the bad news. May his soul rest in peace."
"Thomas was the most brilliant colleague I've ever met. I was so fortunate to have had a chance to collaborate with him. May his soul rest in peace."
"Thomas was on my PhD committee here at OSU, as he was with numerous other graduate students. I felt very fortunate, and I was hoping to keep him onboard even though he was moving to England. Thomas was very generous with his time, and supportive of graduate students. I know several students whom Thomas advised here at OSU and they all seemed to be doing well. As a condition for passing my oral exams, I had to meet with each of my committee members individually. Thomas was first, and I studied hard as I was a bit intimidated. When I got to his office he disarmed me quickly with his kindness, and we had a relaxed and stimulating conversation about remote sensing.
I would often see Thomas walking with his dog in the morning to OSU. It's about 3 miles, and he looked at ease walking into campus. I think it was very nice for him. I got to have several impromptu and casual conversations with him during these walks. We were very lucky to have Thomas here at OSU. My heart goes out to Yhasmin and family."
"Thanks for the hiking, biking, snowboarding, laughs, insight, and help. Taken too soon. He was my friend and I will miss him."
"I have so many memories over the years… always with that radiant smile that lights every corner.
Your passing has broken my heart, and it is very hard to accept that you have gone, but I am happy that you found such happiness.
Rest in peace dear Thomas, you will never be forgotten x"
"Thomas was a gentleman, a scholar, and a friend to many of us. With malice toward none, we wish Thomas well as he crosses the River Styx and lament his passing."
"I am shocked and deeply saddened about the news. I have been in many meetings with Thomas and have always enjoyed our conversations, his brilliant scientific insights, and his gentle and attentive mannerism. I have several great memories of him in social gatherings and outings, specially in Brazilian Remote Sensing Symposiums, where he attended fully with heart and soul. I miss having him around in our gatherings."
"I feel sorry to lose a wonderful colleague. May he rest in peace."
"I was so shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news. Thomas was always smiling and came across as a truly brilliant and wonderful person. It was always a pleasure to collaborate with him on various papers. My sincere condolences to his family."
"We spent good times together in April 2015 while attending the Brazilian RS symposium in Nordeste. Long lunches and dinners by the beach with a large group of friends - Thomas and Yhasmin in the center. Fond memories that we shall treasure forever. I am personally proud to count as Thomas' co-author on a couple of brilliant research articles. We were exchanging emails on some recent work as late as August ... Dear Thomas you will live in our hearts and minds for as long as we live ..."
"Very sad to see a rising star diminished."
"Very sad to see a rising star diminished."
"Thomas was a very bright and quick learner, with an amazing and intimidating repertoire of works. Upon entering the lab, unknowing as to anyone’s expectations, I initially tried to follow, which I soon discovered I simply could not. He combined broad interests with specialized skills. But my best memories were when we spent hiking the Golden Ears or when we were zooming through Hinton and Saskatoon, Switzerland, Spain and many other places. He was font of nature and knowledgeable about the trees. My deepest condolences to Yhasmin and his family."
"I was very much shocked when I heard the passing of Thomas Hilker in the evening of September 5, 2016. I was lucky and had got a chance to work with him in 2013 to study landscape change and landscape disturbance from remote sensing data at Oregon State University. I never forget his ever bright face and he was a great source of comfort and support for my PhD studies in Environmental planning.
Thomas’s soul is now at peace and is resting with the lord. His pain is gone and it is our turn to deal with sorrow. We know the day will come but death always leaves us with grief. I can’t begin to imagine what Thomas families and friends are feeling, but let me share my heart-felt condolence. Let patience be upon Yhasmin and family at this time of grief. My prayers and thoughts are with you all during this horrible time."
"I always looked forward to catching up with Thomas and attending his presentations at AGU - the passion, scientific excellence, his ability to explain even quite complicated things in simple words - they were always great. Equally awesome was his genuine way of showing interest while talking to you - no matter if the topic was research-related or just sharing some anecdote experience from everyday life - he was curious about everything. His smile is indeed a great way to remember Thomas and his influence on life of others."
"I was so sorry to hear about the sudden passing of Thomas. Although I only met him a few times, he was such a vibrant and warm person. I first met him soon after he started working with Nicholas. He asked me about lidar. The next time I met him, I was amazed at the progress he had made. It just really blew me away and I thought, wow, this is someone who is going to make strides in remote sensing! Yet he was humble and he loved what he did. You could tell. He glowed (and if you didn't see the glow, you could feel it in his writing). My most heartfelt condolences to his family and his wife. May we always keep in mind those who are most precious to us."
"Thomas was a great scientist and always kind and helpful. He was my first contact with IRSS during my MSc when we collaborated on a flux tower project of Andy Black. He was a great mentor and helped me to find my path when I was deciding where to do a PhD, highly encouraging me to work with Nicholas Coops and IRSS. I am always grateful for his advice, his intelligence & for sharing his experiences. It was an honour to work with him and to catch up with him at AGU and NASA meetings and at OSU and UBC. Thomas, you will be greatly missed and your contributions will be remembered in the scientific community.
My condolences to Yhasmin and his family in Germany."
"Sometimes the life has unexpected ways...sometimes we don't understand these ways, and sometimes the life send us messages to learn...and sometimes some of these are so rough for family and friends. What happened to Thomas is one of this, he was so young, and with a brilliant future that we don't understand this, it's unfair. But the life works unexpected way, and we cannot predict it... I remember when I priest told to the folks that this world is for imperfect people and heaven is for good guys, now this argument makes me think about that. My deepest condolences to his family and friends."
"Since we were born and raised in the same German small town I knew Thomas from the very early days of our lives. We went to the same elementary school and a few years later did our high school graduation (Abitur) together being in the same class for several years. We weren't close friends but it always was a pleasure enjoying his company since he simply was a friendly, always helpful and smart guy.
After leaving school I lost sight of him for quite a while and only picked up snippets of what he was up to from time to time. But with Social Media appearing I had the chance to catch a glimpse at his outstanding career and private life from thousands of miles away.
When I learned that Thomas had died under such tragic circumstances a few days ago I was devastated. I knew that he and his wife had big plans for the near future and thinking about all of this felt so unreal, more like a nightmare. But unfortunately it is reality and from the bottom of my heart I wish his friends and especially his family all the best and all the strength needed for the days ahead.
Thomas, you will be sadly missed. Farewell and rest in peace."
"Thomas and I went to school together, 1982-1995, so to say we grew up together. That smile he always had. When my Mom told me last night he passed away I felt a part of my childhood had gone with him, it really hurts.
But truth is, he will always be with us, in our memories and hearts…"
"I was very much shocked at the news yesterday. It took me and will take me more days to get over this. I thought he is going to UK for a better opportunity. I thought he is in his way to the very top of the field. I thought I would hear from him again or meet him again somewhere. Thomas is such a nice and friendly person with a smiling face. I did not expect such kinds of heartbroken news.. Rest in Peace...Condolences to his family.."
"Thomas was a delight to know - cheerful, kind, forward-thinking and optimistic. He will be very much missed by all whom he touched - colleagues, students and friends. May Yhasmin, his family, and all who knew him be blessed by his memory."
"I am deeply saddened to hear of Thomas Hilker’s passing. He was a wonder. It’s not often that you get to watch a young person develop from student and post doc to one of the very best scientists in the field even surpassing his mentors! He is gone too soon. I am grateful for his time on this Earth and what he has done for us. A while ago, NASA had a mission statement that read, “To understand and protect the home planet”. Many of us deeply believed in this and Thomas did it naturally. He is a hero for Earth."
"Such a sweet man! Gentle, humble and kind. In his short life Thomas clearly left his mark in the hearts all who knew him and in his relatively brief career he has made an indelible mark as well. We will miss that contagious smile and the sharing of ideas, stories, and a beer. I know we all feel his premature loss deeply.
Thanks to all who have shared your memories and photos, it’s both sad and wonderful to see.
My sincere condolences to Yhasmin, his brother and father."
"I remember happy Thomas when running downhill the Berg Rigi in Switzerland few years ago. He enjoyed being outdoor as much as pushing forward frontiers of science from behind his computer. The true pioneer in all his being and doing!"
"Every time I interacted with Thomas I was left with this singular impression: the man is truly awesome. What a loss! My heart goes out to Yhasmin and Thomas' family. RIP my friend."
"Thomas was gracious, gregarious, and incredibly generous with his time and ideas. He was a true gentleman and a brilliant scientist. Thomas was the dream collaborator, skilled at communicating complex concepts and providing insightful and thoughtful feedback. His positive outlook on life was contagious and meeting with him was always a delight. Thomas has left us far too soon, but what an indelible personal and professional legacy he leaves behind. My sincerest condolences to Yhasmin and his family."
"Though I never met Thomas in person, I had the chance to collaborate with him on a very interesting proposal a few years ago, and found him to be a delightful colleague in all respects. My best thoughts to all of his family and loved ones in his untimely passing, far too soon."
"Thomas was among the kindest, most genuine and sincere people I've met in my life, and a real joy to be around. I feel so lucky to have known him, and to have had the opportunity to work with him, albeit briefly. He will indeed be missed."
"I first met Thomas in 2008 in a SpecNet meeting. It was impossible not to start admiring his sharpness, his intellect yet modesty, his charm and positive attitude. It was impossible to meet Thomas and not to become his friend.
The results of his too short but extremely productive scientific life will certainly serve as reference for years to come. More importantly, his memory shall live to remind us of smiling one another and be positive. We will miss you Thomas. My deepest condolences."
"My condolences to Thomas' family and especially to his partner Yhasmin. These past few days have made me reflect on my experience of Thomas and I want to share these with others. Thomas took two things very seriously in his life: his relationships and his research. I break these two out below.
I saw Thomas walking home with his sizable external hard drive one day. He explained this was just in case of fire or burglary.
I remember sharing a hotel room with Thomas during one of the Coops' famous lab retreats. The lab retreats were really a chance to catch up with the other researchers and drink. However, I distinctly remember waking up late one of the evenings after all the festivities to see that Dr. Hilker was very quietly coding on his computer.
He was always available to talk, to help, to have a laugh. He smiled to see you. He genuinely inquired about people and about the world around him. He would talk to me about Volkswagens - how the ones made in Germany were much more reliable than those made in North America. He asked me about forest fire and fire ecology even though our remote sensing modeling didn't require this understanding.
Anyone who knew Thomas knows that the world has lost someone very special and very dear to many people. May you rest in peace Thomas and we will miss you and not forget you!"
"Thomas was adept at every aspect of being a successful scientist. He left an indelible mark in our field, yet really was only just getting started. This is a tragedy that is difficult to process. My heart goes out to Yhasmin.
Yes, science creds for sure, but it was his composure and grace that I admired most. That spirit will live on."
"Thomas was a shining light of humanity and an exceptional scientist. His passing is a loss to the world. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family."
"Thomas was, of course, a gifted PhD student.
Hard working, polite, respectful and efficient. He completed his PHD in 3 years, a record, as well as publishing 6 papers. He quickly out-paced his supervisor. During that time as a student he spent what time he could outdoors, learning about the trees, forests and fluxes. Indoors it was coding, databasing (oh.. his beloved database!) and writing. A gifted combination of skills that served him well throughout his career.
Thomas was a lab-mates dream
He was up for a drink (or many), a hike, a party, and a joke. He was often the victim of having his screen backdrops changed when away from his desk. To cats, which Thomas didn’t have much time for, and often much worse. He was the first to pitch in, to organize, to clean up or to pay.
Thomas became a stellar scientist.
He approached environmental questions and challenges with vigor and zeal. He had an enormous curiosity and passion for science. He loved tinkering with equipment, field and spectral data collection, programming, modelling, simulation and writing; making him a true all-rounder. From Landsat to LiDAR he moved between technologies with ease as he researched important issues of our time.
Thomas was also a collaborators delight.
He was respective of other opinions, eager to share ideas and approaches, happy to slow down and explain ideas simply or speed up and jump to the answer. He recognized others contribution and knew science was a collaborative endeavor. He was loyal to those he worked with, and travelled the world building networks of colleagues, based on respect, and the love of science.
But most of all…..
Thomas was my friend."
"This is such a sad loss. What a wonderful and gifted person. Thomas was an amazing scientist as well as a bright light of a human being... full of creative ideas, positive vibes, radiant smiles and kindness. He was a friend and colleague who I will really miss."
"Thomas made a huge impact on those who were lucky enough to work with him. In addition to having one of the keenest minds in Earth science, he was one of the friendliest and most gregarious people you'd ever meet. I'm glad that he was able to spend a few years at GSFC, and we'll all miss him terribly."
"Too shocked at the death of Thomas Hilker.
He is a great scientist at his young age. Still remember the communication about the multi-angle remote sensing and image fusion. RIP."
"We are of the 13th Place gang in Corvallis, Oregon. Thomas was a very wonderful part of our get-togethers, always a great smile.
We lived 1 door down from Thomas & would walk our dogs together at times. Yes Jazzy and Molly, Thomas would get the biggest smile when we would talk about Jazzy. This has all been like a very bad dream, such a terrible loss to all who knew Thomas. RIP our dear friend.
Jenny & John Sullivan"
"It was in 2004 when Thomas first made contact with Nicholas Coops and I. Thomas had lined up Nicholas to supervise his PhD and I was brought on to co-supervise. From that point on, things were never the same! Thomas was Nicholas' first PhD. Imagine having to follow that! Thomas managed to take on every challenge with such confidence and grace. Never did he seem flustered. Quietly and efficiently things just got done, and done well. While Thomas had obvious abilities as a scientist, with equal ease he also gathered many friends, all of whom he managed to make feel special. Student, colleague, and friend - Thomas will be sorely missed."
"Thomas was a dear friend and stellar colleague. We were sad when he left OSU this summer, and didn't know that was the last time we would see him. His engaging smile and gentle spirit will be remembered forever. My heart goes out to his family. Rest in peace, Thomas."
"Thomas was such a rare person in our world. Selfless, brilliant and an all-around great man. This news is such a shock. While we never worked together, I always enjoyed reviewing his work and can only imagine what could have been. This is tragic news."
"Jeannie and I only knew Thomas socially, as part of our close knit cul-de-sac group here in Corvallis OR. We traded enjoyable evenings with Thomas and Yhasmin and loved their company. It was a shock to all of us when we learned of his sudden medical event and subsequent passing. I can only pay him the highest complement I know, he was a gentleman. From his warmth to his humor, he was a delight. He was taken from all of us far too soon. Our hearts and love go out to Yhasmin and Thomas' family."
"It was always a pleasure to run into Thomas. He was a wonderful person and a great scientist. Such a terrible loss."
"Fond memories of dinner and discussions with Thomas on the coast in Recife - such a great person who will be greatly missed."
"I will miss Thomas dearly. I would see Thomas once or twice a year at a conference or a meeting, and I knew that each time I would be greeted by his wide smile and cheerful presence. As I entered the realm of remote sensing science and sometimes felt nervous around leaders in the field, Thomas always made me feel welcome, treated me as an equal colleague, and bolstered my spirit. Thomas' legacy will continue both as a leader in his field and as a dear friend to so many.
My sincere condolences to Yhasmin and family."
"Thomas, you were an amazing, hugely talented scientist, but also a brilliant friend and colleague. I'll never forget my year working with you at UBC and your never-failing kindness, generosity and humour, from the first day when you picked me up at the airport and through all the times since when I've been lucky enough to see you - made that time even more special. You will be deeply missed but not forgotten. My thoughts and sincere condolences are with your family and Yhasmin."
"Thomas will be missed around the world - we will miss his insight and dedication to research and we will miss out on discoveries yet to come."
"I know that all who knew Thomas, loved and respected him and are shocked and saddened by his passing. At this point, it is difficult for us to comprehend the meaning and purpose of this tragic event. But if any one life can have meaning, Thomas’ life brought joy and enlightenment to all who worked with him as a scientist. HIs selfless contributions to understanding the Earth are already substantial and over his career would have been enormous. We hope to follow in his footsteps to carry on the work he started.
I had known Thomas nearly 10 years, and In my three years working side by side with him at Goddard. I and other colleagues at Goddard developed deep friendships based on common purpose and understanding of what needed to be achieved scientifically and how to get there. We developed an entirely new approach to measuring the surface-atmosphere energy, water and carbon exchange from both tower and satellite. Without Thomas these important contributions would have never been possible. I am very proud of the work he and I did together and the work he continued with Yhasmin and others after leaving Goddard. I know he was looking forward to continuing this into the future."
"Thomas was a fantastic scientist, a great colleague, and a super friend. His brilliant creativity and perseverence were matched only by his sense of humor and his smile. I always looked forward to field work with him when we were doing our Barn Tower project together at Harvard Forest, and in more recent years it was always wonderful to catch up with him at AGU.
Thomas you will be missed. My deepest condolences to your family and loved ones."
"My sincere condolences to the family, to Yhasmin and to all of those who were close friends to Thomas"
"We will miss you, Thomas. A one-of-a-kind researcher, colleague and most importantly, person. Know that he left a lasting positive impact on the world. Condolences to his family and friends - you are in our thoughts and prayers."
"My sincere condolences."
"We were shocked and so deeply saddened by this news. A brilliant mind, analytics wizard, prolific scholar, keen scientist and passionate researcher making a real difference on important matters. He made a deep mark in Canada, receiving the Canadian Remote Sensing Society National Best Ph.D. Thesis Award at our national conference in 2009 for his research supervised by Nicholas Coops at UBC. So much after that, and so much ahead past 2016 yet cut short. Best of all a fine character, a person of high integrity, collegiality, humour, and a dear friend.
Our deepest condolences to Yhasmin and everyone in Thomas’ family.
Derek Peddle – University of Lethbridge - Canada"
"I was (and still am) heartbroken that you have left us, and so suddenly. A light has gone out, and the world will not be the same without you in it. I am a better person and scientist from having worked and shared good times with you. I will always remember your amazing enthusiasm, humour and incredible passion for science. You were quite simply a star, and I will miss you terribly. Sending heartfelt condolences to Yhasmin and family at this hugely difficult time xx"
"My most sincere condolences. Thomas will be missed."
"Thomas was the first person I talked from OSU. I still can vividly remember the first time we talked via Skype. He was the person who put me in connection with awesome folks at OSU. I still cannot believe this misfortune happened on such a young and energetic person. But his distinguished achievements in academia and innovative ideas will be admired and continued by peers."
"Thomas is one of a kind, a rare friend and colleague. I am deeply saddened by the loss of this unassuming man. His death came like a swift arrow. While Thomas was taken from us too soon, he will always be remembered for his creativity, candor, and his gentle and bright face. May his soul rest in eternal peace and may his family get the strength to bear the pain."
"Thomas will be missed in the College of Forestry. He was a wonderful, cheerful, and brilliant friend and colleague."
Have a suggestion for us?