We were all saddened by the news of Tom's
passing. He was a good friend to us all. Here are a few words from some
IBMC'ers to remember him by. Please e-mail
me or write if you would like to add anything and I will gladly include
your thoughts. Additional pictures are also welcome - the one above is
all I have currently.
I know I'll be thinking of him alot.
He was an impressive man... rough and tough looking on the outside, but
a real pussycat inside. He had a flare for things artistic... how
else could have been and done such beautiful wallpaper hanging.
He was a leader... was self-employed, and had a crew of men working with
him. Did you know he held a Lieutenant's rank in the Army... and
served two tours in 'Nam? It's befitting, especially on this particular
Veterans' day to remember him with fondness and warmth.
For sure he was loved by his motorcycle friends.
And I personally wish him God speed! Chances are that he's doing repairs
to the Golden Gate as his closest buddy Chip had said in his remarks at
the service. I remember saying that he scared me as we were about
to shake hands at our introduction, he had massive arms... about
the size of my torso, but his handshake was gentle... his hands were those
of an artist. My dad was like that. As a barber he had acquired great arm
and shoulder muscles from cutting hair and shaving... yet, he had soft
and gentle hand, almost woman-like. I got over my fear the moment he shook
my hand and said I was to make myself at home there... this was my first
campout -- in Central Bridge, NY, 1986. I've enjoyed his and
Rikki's friendship ever since.
I remember two campouts at his home. Both
are vividly fresh in my mind, like it was yesterday. The first one was
while he was in the process of building his dome-shaped garage...
we stood in the alcove of what had not yet been put together and watched
as Rikki, Tom and the rest of us threw one pallet after another on the
fire just outside the opening he had yet to complete. The second campout
was different. He cooked the morning pancakes. He attached a blower to
a length of 4" pipe and really made the fire turn white-hot. Rikki
was hypnotized by it. I'm gonna really miss that guy!
As a veteran I can appreciate Tom's sacrifices
and devotion to his country. Right or wrong, it's our country. Hope
he could observe this Veteran's Day from a better viewpoint than
down here on earth. May the peace of his God be with him.
- Norm Gignac
I met Tom a few times at IBMC rallies, didn't
know him too well, but he laughed at some of my jokes, which put him on
my "A" list. I cherish the T-shirt I got from him.
- Doc Smith
Tom was a real clown. The first
time I met him years ago at a campout somewhere in upstate NY, he came
at me like I had known him for years, trying to convince me that he had
painted my house 5 years ago. He might have succeeded, had I not been living
in a house with vinyl siding for the last 7 years. But that was characteristic
of Tom - always ready with a laugh. I'll forever remember him sitting around
the campfire, throwing the bull with the best of us. Ride free,
- Frank Altamura