Thomas A. Spraggins, PhD

Class Year



Posted on: January 6, 2020

Thomas Allen Spraggins, 61, of Palmyra, Va., passed away peacefully at home on October 17, 2019, after a brief but stoic battle with an aggressive form of cancer. Tom leaves behind family and close friends from what he affectionately referred to as his three circles of friends. Tom possessed a keen, and at times intimidating intellect. He developed a love of science and computers at an early age and graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in Chemistry with Distinction in 1979 continuing at UVa to earn his PhD in Biophysical Chemistry in 1986. During this time, Tom developed what would become a lifelong affection for the Charlottesville area and formed his Charlottesville Circle of Friends.

After graduating, Tom worked for Siemens Medical in the burgeoning world of Magnetic Resonance Imaging which he had contributed to during his doctoral research. His career with Siemens took him to New Jersey, Chicago and Erlangen, Germany. Not surprisingly, Tom used the opportunity living in Germany to become truly fluent in German and in the process made many new friends which would become his second circle—his European Circle of Friends.

In 1990, he returned to his beloved University of Virginia as an assistant professor of radiology and director of the Siemens/UVA Radiologic Research Laboratory and was reunited with his Charlottesville Circle. During this time, Tom was granted numerous patents, the titles and contents of which his family and friends cannot even begin to understand. Tom continued at UVA working in Health Systems Information Technology until his retirement in 2015.

In 1999, after numerous trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Tom purchased a vacation/rental home in Avon, North Carolina which he lovingly named Feat in the Sand, in homage to one of his favorite bands—Little Feat. Tom spent many weeks every year in Avon where he developed his third circle—his OBX Circle of Friends.

Tom will be missed dearly by his family and circles of friends. Remembrances can be directed to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.