Deceased June 8, 2016

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In Memory

The very first person I met at Amherst was Tom. For more than 40 years we were fast friends, and the ache I feel at a world without him may ease with time’s passage but it will never disappear. He was sui generis. I know that I speak for many in the extended Amherst community when I say to Tom’s loving, graceful and beautiful wife, Pamela, and to their talented, earnest and soon-to-be-married son, Tommy, that we are with you as you are with us as we celebrate all that was Tom and grieve the loss of a friend who was so much larger than life.

Tom died, with his family surrounding him, on June 8 from complications of pancreatic cancer. That he lived for almost three years after his diagnosis was the sort of good fortune Tom didn’t always enjoy at poker or betting on college basketball, but it did give us, his army of family and friends, a few more Tom-choreographed social events, Tom-inspired meals and toasts and adventures. During these last three years, his spirits never seemed to flag and his courage, good humor and abiding love of la dolce vita were an inspiration.

Football, rugby, math classes with Norton Starr, “through the radio” at TD Goats, Stockbridge, Tanglewood, NYC, San Francisco, Bend, John Prine, advertising, camping, secondtrunks, three shoes in a box … . I could go on, but I’ll recall just one period of our shared decades. It was 1979, we’d left the womb of Amherst and were launching our lives. Tom was flying high, traveling the world, idiosyncratically forging his own path, caring deeply about his family, loyal to his friends, insistent upon control and determined to make every day memorable. Tom led the way. He has done so again—too soon, my friend, too soon. Cheers.

John Gulla ’79