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Benjamin Catin Tombaugh ’01

A picture of Benjamin Tombaugh

Benjamin Catin Tombaugh ’01, February 2011, in Taiwan, from colon cancer. We learned of Ben’s death from his sister, Hilary Tombaugh Norton. “He had a very playful spirit and was always making jokes,” she wrote, “but he also worked very hard.” Ben was salutatorian at Gresham High School and earned a BA in mathematics from Reed. During his junior year, he studied math in Budapest and learned to speak Hungarian. After the semester ended, he was invited to stay on as a volunteer English teacher in a small town in Slovakia and became so passionate about teaching that he returned to Slovakia after he graduated. Ben went next to teach in Taiwan, where he met Celine Kao; they married in 2010. At the time of his death, he had traveled through much of Europe and Asia. He spoke German and Hungarian and was nearly fluent in Mandarin. He took thousands of photos. “His death at such a young age is a tragedy,” Hilary wrote, “but he lived a very full life and the seeds of that were planted early. I want to thank all of his teachers and Reed College for giving him such a great foundation for his amazing travels.” Survivors include Ben’s wife, mother, and sister.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2012

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