Mount Angel is mourning the loss of residents Tom and Virginia Ewing after police reported they died in a murder-suicide at the end of November.
According to the Mt. Angel Police Department, Thomas Esson Ewing, 77, and Virginia Rae Ewing, 71, were found deceased Nov. 27 at their home on the 600 Block of St. Mary’s Ave.
Assisted by the County District Attorney’s Office and the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, on Dec. 12 police announced both individuals died from gunshot wounds. They listed cause of Virginia Ewing’s death as homicide and Tom Ewing’s death as suicide, naming Tom Ewing as the shooter.
No additional details have been released by authorities.
The Ewings were remembered during a celebration of life Dec. 4 at Tiny’s Tavern organized by friends and shared on Facebook by the Mt. Angel Chamber of Commerce, of which Tom Ewing was a former board member. On Facebook the chamber described Tom Ewing as a longtime community supporter and volunteer, and said he and Virginia Ewing “will be dearly missed.”
In addition to community engagement, Tom Ewing was a former chief administrative law judge of the State of Oregon, a position he took after a career as an appellate attorney. He also wrote the novel Jerusalem Falls!, a story of the First Crusade told from the perspective of a Christian monk, among other historical publications.
Before moving into town the Ewings lived on the farm just outside Mount Angel where Tom Ewing’s family had lived for more than 160 years. In a 2009 interview with Our Town, he said his ancestors endured a harrowing journey across the Oregon Trail and an unsuccessful bid in the California Gold Rush before settling on the farm. He said the spot reminded his great-grandfather, Alexander Esson, of his native Scotland.
The Ewings leave three sons, Zan, Ross and Nathan.