Obituary: Thomas Paul Sternberg

Obituary: Thomas Paul Sternberg

Thomas (Shlomo) Paul Sternberg’s spirit left his body on Monday evening, June 19, 2023 - after 86 years of a life of loyalty, love, and generosity.

Thomas Paul Sternberg
Thomas Paul Sternberg

Thomas (Shlomo) Paul Sternberg’s spirit left his body on Monday evening, June 19, 2023 – after 86 years of a life of loyalty, love, and generosity. His childlike gist for life and his indomitable independence were shaped by being a child survivor of the Holocaust. For a man whose family meant everything, he arrived on the shores of New York in 1952 at the age of 15 without any.

Tom was born in 1937 in Arad, Romania. He spent his early childhood during World War II hiding in the Transylvanian mountains to avoid capture. After the war, he was reunited with his father, Simcha Sternberg, step-mother, Dahlia Sternberg and younger brother, Haim Sternberg, in Arad and together they emigrated to Israel in 1950.

In Israel, he was further reunited with his older brother, Mordecai Sternberg, and mother, Aviva Moses. He lived and went to school at Kibbutz Kfar Szold and, while playing table tennis at the YMCA in Jerusalem, he met a U.S. Navy sailor, Wallace Hudson (known later as Uncle Wally). In 1952, Uncle Wally brought Tom to the United States and eventually arranged for him to stay in Alexandria, Va.

Tom attended George Washington High School and, while trying to learn English and supporting himself, he also joined the debate team. After graduating high school in 1955, he attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) receiving a B.S. in chemical engineering. Prior to graduating from VPI, he returned to Israel to serve in the Israeli Air Force for two years.

He developed a lifetime love and fascination with statistics from his best friend at VPI, Al Romano. To pursue this calling, he attended Stanford University receiving his M.S in statistics. While at Stanford, he met and within six months married, the love of his life, Jette Ibk Jakobsen, in 1964. Their loving marriage lasted 50 years, until Jette passed away from an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis which confined her to a wheelchair for 40 years of their marriage. Despite these challenges, they had a daughter, Maya Raquel Sternberg, and together they lived in Minnesota, London, Budapest, Copenhagen and returned to the United States in 1973 to settle in Atlanta, Ga.

Tom started a travel agency which specialized in student travel and began to design a software system, the first of its kind, allowing travel agents to streamline and automate their front and back-office tasks. In 1981, he sponsored his brother, Haim, and Haim’s family to come to the United States; and together they built the company which sold the T.O.M system. After retiring from his entrepreneurial enterprises, he ended his career returning to work as a statistician at various research institutions.

Tom’s hobbies included: aviation, going to the opera and symphony, meeting new people who always became friends, debating history and current events, reading, or at least always carrying a book – often Shakespeare or a statistics book.

However, his biggest joy and pride was family. Tom had an infectious eternal optimism and boyish sense of humor – he lived in the present until the moment he drew his last breath.

He is survived by his daughter Maya Raquel Sternberg (Julie) and brother, Haim (Bonnie) Sternberg, along with his nephews: Ophir (Efrat), Oded (Anat), Erez (Rebekah), Barak (Kim), and Zach and nieces: Gillat (Mike) and Kelsey (Cade), along with his grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and extended family in the U.S., England, Israel, Chile, and his wife’s family in Denmark.

Memorial donations can be made to Americans for Ben-Gurion University ( or Books for Africa ( Arrangements by Dressler’s, 770-451-4999.

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