I enjoyed knocking around with Tom at Lands End and listening to his accounts at some of our Chow & Chatter get togethers. I figure that when I was a kid Tom had to have rented me some of the ice skates I wore and listened to some of the record tunes he spun over the ice rink P/A.
When I started volunteering in 2012 at Lands End Lookout Tom helped me find my niche. For years Tom together with his friend Bill Ferrero greeted and toured visitors around the Sutro Baths ruins providing rich nuggets of history. Bill had passed away prior to my coming on the scene and I could tell that Tom greatly missed his pal. Our volunteering schedules didn’t match thus we rarely worked in tandem. But there were a number of times when together we’d tour school groups and or visiting college classes through the Sutro ruins and environs. Tom was patient with everyone but he didn’t try to raise his voice to hold the groups ear. If you were there to learn you had to provide the proper attention. Most did.
People would 'listen up' to his many stories about the ice rink, the museum collections and the building. If some weren’t exactly following the presentation Tom’s account about acquiring that early Zamboni (I believe the third Zamboni built and adapted to a Willy’s Jeep!) usually got the entire groups attention. He’d open his 3 ring binder to the photographs of the long staircase and the ramp created to cautiously lower the Zamboni down to rink level. People got a kick learning about that Zamboni and that the shaved ice was disposed of through ‘trap door’ at rink level to the beach below.
The last time that we worked together in 2017 was for a grad student's film project. Tom was patient being asked to re-do take after take because of technical snafus on the student’s part. Tom hit his delivery stride with each re-take but I could see fatigue setting in. After the shoot the students quickly packed their gear and took off. He and I walked slowly up the hill to his car. Tom mentioned that he was less likely to keep coming over from the East Bay because of his own health and concern for that of his daughter.