Thomas Howard Wentzien

March 10, 1965 ~ November 15, 2021 (age 56)


Doctor Thomas Howard Wentzien, beloved physician, husband, father, brother, son, was born March 10th, 1965 in San Francisco, California, and passed away November 15th, 2021, after a long, courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Tom was the “Best of the Best in all ways that mattered.” Tom fought AML relentlessly for over three years with the most amazing spirit, courage, optimism, strength and humor imaginable. Tom loved soccer and running and was often found running around the hospital fountain with his IV pole in hand!

Tom was raised in Saratoga, California, attending Congress Springs Elementary, Redwood Middle School and then graduating from Saratoga High School in 1983. Tom cherished many fun days fishing in local ponds, hanging out with friends and overall adventuring. He loved soccer and was an outstanding athlete. Tom played soccer in high school and went on to play soccer at UC Santa Barbara before transferring to UC Berkeley where he graduated with a BS in physiology in 1987. He worked briefly as a phlebotomist before pursuing a career in medicine, and he often spoke of this exposure to medicine as a great life experience. Tom went on to earn a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from the Western University Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in 1992 with honors. After graduating from medical school, Tom completed an Internal Medicine residency at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He won numerous Resident of the Year awards and worked on clinical research involving warfarin use. Tom dearly loved both the hospital and his residency. Tom continued on to a Cardiology Fellowship at UC Davis. Upon completion of his Cardiology Fellowship, Tom returned to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center where he joined the cardiology division. As part of this division, Tom started the cardiac device program at SCVMC, and was the Director of the Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device Services.

Tom was incredibly passionate about patient care, teaching residents and students, and upholding Valley Medical Center’s mission to provide the best healthcare to all. This was evident by the numerous awards he won, including the Consultant of the Year Award in 2010 as well as three Faculty Teacher of the Year awards. This award has since been named after him in his honor. Tom provided exemplary leadership to SCVMC as a dedicated member of the medical staff, serving as Chairman of the Department of Medicine and President of the Medical Staff. Both positions he cherished and worked so hard at to make positive change. He was incredibly proud to be a “public servant” especially in the Valley where he grew up. His unbridled enthusiasm for life and his dedication to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and the County were unparalleled. He served the county through his practice at SCVMC for over 25 years.

During this time, Tom married Erin McNutt in Lebanon, Illinois in 2004. They had two boys, Collin and Torrin Wentzien. Tom was an exemplary husband and father, traveling the world with Erin to places like Iceland, Brazil and Bhutan, and later with the children to places such as Mexico, Costa Rica, and Europe. He shared his love for soccer, music, travel, fishing and the outdoors with his wife and boys, going on frequent hikes, runs and sharing long music playlists. Tom loved life and he loved the world, evident by how much the world loved him. He has touched so many.

In addition to Tom’s passion for medicine, cardiology, and family, Tom was incredibly passionate about soccer. He loved the sport and often used it as an analogy for many “life lessons.” He was always watching soccer, playing soccer or talking about soccer, whether it was the English Premier League, Champions League or Bundesliga. There was always soccer on television somewhere in the world, and Tom would find it. The family was also regulars at the San Jose Earthquakes soccer games and events. However, who Tom loved watching play most, were his children, Collin and Torrin Wentzien. Nothing made him happier than to watch them play. He coached both of them during their early years, and then continued to train them while they played competitive soccer. During his final days, he would be seen in his wheelchair in the corner of the field, cheering on his boys.

Tom is so loved and dearly missed.

Tom is survived by his wife, Erin Wentzien, sons Collin and Torrin Wentzien, brother Christopher Wentzien and his wife Vilma Wentzien, sisters Elizabeth Haughey and Judith Wentzien, mother Marion Wentzien, niece Lily Ana Sturgis and her husband Jeff Sturgis, nephews William and Hayden Haughey, nephew Isaac Wentzien, and niece Marion Fowler.

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