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Michael Marcus
11 years ago

Many years ago in Morocco, and a bit in NYC. Tom was one of the most open-hearted, warm-hearted, not to mention funniest guys whom I had the pleasure to know.

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

Messing with my brother...always a good time.

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bobby
12 years ago

il aimait les dauphins je crois bien.

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Ginger Sprinkle
12 years ago

Warmest thoughts and prayers are with you and your family through this unexpected dark time! I am very sorry for your loss. He sounds magnificent...

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

Thank you, Ginger. He was magnificent. The days are very long without him.

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Kathie
12 years ago

I can' t tell you how sorry I am that Tom is gone. But I can tell you how glad I am that you were able to spend the greatest part of life with him. While I was sad to have my best friend move across the country, I could see the happiness that you and Tom had together. Of course he had to prove to me that he was worthy...and he certainly did! He was a wonderful man and I was so glad to know that the two of you had such a wonderful life. While it's hard to not have him here I hope time will replace the pain with joy. Not everyone gets to have a Tom in their life, so as the days pass, I hope you can look back with wonderful memories and realize how lucky you both were to find one another. And always remember that you have lots of us who love you !

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Donna G Tolen
12 years ago

Thank you my dear Lou, you have been by my side through good and bad for over 30 years. I am sorry there has been so much bad the last year and a half. It means so much that it only takes a phone call and you are by my side. I hope I never have to return the favor but if you need me I will be there for you. Tee loved you as I love you. BFF!!!! Donna

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Rebecca Leung
12 years ago

I work with Donna and we go to lunch together frequently. However, sometimes when I ask Donna to go to lunch, she says no because Tom cooked this amazing meal and she has leftovers. Not only do I have to go to lunch by myself, but then I have to smell this delicious food as I walk to the elevator. One time, I got lucky and was invited to lunch at Donna and Tom's. I wore pants with an elastic waistband because I knew I was going to eat my fill of Tom's delicious cooking! He didn’t disappoint. There were multiple appetizers and drinks. I think he cooked salmon on the grill, but he made a piece of chicken just for me because I don’t eat fish. It was everything I had dreamed of. Tom, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your creative and inspired cooking, your contributions to the lighting industry, and the fact that you were such a loving husband to my dear friend Donna. My condolences to Donna and Tom’s family. With Love, Rebecca

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Donna G Tolen
12 years ago

Thank you Rebecca....Tee really liked you too.

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steve coppola
12 years ago

Tom and I became best buds sometime around ( not positive ) 1962, when his family relocated to Denver. Neither of us had Dads, mine died and his was gone. So our Moms spent a lot of time together trying to get their lives back on track, while we bonded, doing things that 6 and 7 year old boys without Dads might do while mostly unattended. like the time we found a piece of remesch wire in my back yard area. I'm not sure whose idea it was but we decided to unroll it and stand on either end, then when Tom stepped off it rolled back and caught me under my right eye, needing a couple of stitches to fix. Then we got bb guns for Christmas, pretty sure Aunt Donna regretted that gift, cause we must have shot out the majority of the street lights in their neighborhood. I can still see him running out from under the falling glass of the first one, laughing hard after he had tried to convince me I could'nt hit it . Tom and Anne had a little pomeranian dog named Buffy, one day he turned up missing and Tom went crazy with fear that he was in danger, we searched the neighborhood with no luck, and he was never found, but I always remembered how upset Tom was that Buffy was gone, and he continued to look for him for a long time after. We spent many weekends together over the next 7 or eight years, and while he lived across town, our familys spent lots of time together. At that time there were many cousins living in Denver, and life was good. After they moved to California we never had much more contact, untill about a year ago, when Tom called me up, we had a good long conversation and talked about getting together in the near future. It never happened, but I am so grateful to all the people that posted pictures and text about my cousins life, I feel like I new his adult person, and he was good. Life is a mystery, we come in to it, we go out of it, but our essence lives on in the minds and hearts of the ones we touch, maybe we never really leave at all. Love ya Bro, Steve

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

That's beautiful, Steve. Thank you. He told me he had talked to you and it was like no time had passed at all. I guess some friendships never leave, no matter how much time goes by. Thank you also for our recent phone call. It's a terrible reason, but it was nice to talk to you and I appreciated your deep caring. Love ya, Anne

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steve coppola
12 years ago

Anne, it was good to talk to you also Anne. After you guys moved to Ca. and we all lost touch, I just got bits and peices of your evolving lives, but I always felt the desire to reconnect. As I have revisited the memorial several times, rereading that beautiful euolgy, the memories shared by Toms friends and all those great pictures have given me a really good feeling about his life and who he became. I'm sorry to have never met Donna, they seemed like the perfect match, and I love the sence of humor emulating from thier pictures, it is obvious they were in love. I had a chuckle over a memory of Brian, a co worker I believe, who remembered Tom refering to himself as the office curmudgeon. My girlfriend often refers to me that way, and I've even begun to embrace it myself. Maybe we were a lot a like as adults also. I know Tom's death has really rocked your world and you have a lot on your plate right now, but hang in there Anne, love will heal all pain, let yours flow, and it will return to you many times greater. Love, Steve

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Susie Thorne-Bond
12 years ago

I am so sorry to learn of Tom's untimely death - it was much too early for him to leave. I hadn't seen Tom in many, many years but have fond childhood memories. My mother was and is great friends with Tom's mother Donna, and when we were young - my family would take trips out to California to spend summers with Donna, Tom and Anne in California - on the beaches and taking many road trips to see the sights. I remember when we visited the Hearst Castle in that little car with all of us smashed inside and the air conditioning went out - it was so hot we were all nearly sick. I remember Tom always loving music and one summer all he played was Crosby Stills & Nash! HA - I thought he was so cool. The last time I spoke with Tom was probably twenty years ago when I was researching a job overseas - I called him for advice as he had been there - and he said "GO! Definitely!" - so I did! Thank you, Tom. My thoughts and prayers go out to you all for your loss.

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

I remember that trip, Susie--it was Mom's Barracuda and I remember Fritz and I baking in the hatchback ! You may not have spoken to him lately, but we both have enjoyed your CD (in fact my children know all the words because it's a car ride favorite) and were very proud of you. I also know those summers meant a lot to him--and yes, he was cool. Thank you, Anne

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Mindy Haverland
12 years ago

So very sadden by the loss of such a wonderful man. Tom was always a delight and had a infectious passion for the lighting industry and for Donna. I remember the grin on his face when he talked about you before you joined him and the rest of us bay area lighting folks. May the deep love you shared bring you comfort in walking through this path. " the things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are moments when we touch one another" jack kornfield How blessed we all are to have Tom touched our hearts and spirts. Much peace

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Mike Wunder
12 years ago

I didn't know Tom well but I know he made you a very happy person and for that alone I am very sorry for the suffering that you must be going through. Know that Katie and I are thinking about you and our souls are sending out spiritual support. Given what I know of your life, I am very thankful that you met someone like Tom for he was an important person who put a smile on your face. Your and Tom's relationship and happiness inspired me to realize that great relationships are very possible. He will be missed.

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Donna G Tolen
12 years ago

Dear Donna, thank you so much for sharing your son with me. I am so happy we got to spend that last weekend together and that you got to have time with Tee. He was so happy about that and he was looking forward to your next visit. I can't imagine the loss and pain you must be feeling as his mother. I can only tell you you are not alone in your suffering. I'm glad you have Anne, Brett and the girls to comfort you. You raised the best person I have ever met in my life and I will always be grateful to you. You are in my thoughts. Love You Donna 2

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Donna G Tolen
12 years ago

     Back here in NH people ask me about my step dad and if I was very close to him. I always give them the same answer. I am saddened when I think about it. I don't think I ever really expressed to Tom the answer I've been giving everybody.       I was up at UNH when I found out my mom had met somebody in California.  I would say I was a little more than concerned about my mom going out there to stay with a guy I had yet to meet. This all changed when I went to San Francisco to meet Tom and see the new life that my mom had delved into. One nite of conversation and a very tasty Moroccan meal was all it took for me to see that my mom was in good hands. Tom's wit and dry humor made me feel very comfortable. More importantly my mom's happiness was proof enough that I didn't have to worry about her.      I wish I had gotten a chance to tell Tom these feelings I had. I want to tell him thank you. Even if it was as simple as telling him when people ask me about my step dad out in California, I always say, I couldn't have picked a better person to take care of and keep my mom happy than tee tee. I never had to worry about my mom because I know Tee loved her so.  Ryan........      Thanks for being there for my mom you are the best!

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

Wow, Ryan. You make me cry...Tom would have loved that!

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Michael and Ron
12 years ago

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Ron and Mike
12 years ago

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Ron and Mike
12 years ago

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Brian Liebel
12 years ago

Tom leaves a great many friends at a loss for words, with holes in our hearts and one piece of life less fulfilling. In our small and insular industry of Lighting, Tom made a difference in the Bay Area for a great many people - he will be sorely missed by us all. In our office, Tom proclaimed himself the office "Curmudgeon", but we all knew better - his heart and humor were endearing to the core, and for all his blustering "bite me's" he expressed about the industry and particular clients, he was always a great friend and supporter for all the right things, and for all the right reasons. Tom was a Nebraska Cornhusker fan, and I went to Kansas University, and we had a friendly office rivalry as a result. In honor of Tom, I'm using the football icon because Nebraska always kicked the pants off us in football, leaving us in our shorts and forcing us to make up for it in basketball. Tom, you are the winner in my book, and always will be. Donna, for all of the things that I know Tom to have a passion for, nothing came close to his love for you.

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Kris Bjornson
12 years ago

I didn't get a chance to meet Tom but know how much he ment to Anne. I wish time had let us meet. Sypathy to all for your loss. Remember your time together and the joy you shared. Kris Bjornson

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

Thank you. He would have loved you, Kris--he loved your letters. I wish we could have gotten him to one of your heart doctors, but I guess sometimes you just don't know.

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

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Alison
12 years ago

I like my mother have been trying to come up with the perfect thing to say about my Uncle and I just cant seem to sum it up. Uncle Tom you we the best Uncle I ever could have wished for. Of all of my relatives you were the one I aspired to grow up to be like. I always felt that you understood me and accepted me for me. Thank you for the time you shared with me and know that I love and miss you dearly. <3

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Charles A. Clark
12 years ago

A dear friend and classmate of PGHS '74! With much sadness; will miss! Charles A. Clark San Diego CA

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What a great nice guy..., a fun guy to be around. Tom was one of those guys who I truly loved to be in the presence of.., on a golf course, at an industry event, at our offices. I wish we could have gotten together this spring, like we planned Donna. We are so saddened, we have lost a great guy.

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Shelli
12 years ago

Dear Donna, Anne and Donna, Such a shocking loss. My deepest sypathy to you all. That photo of Tommy and Anne with Anne sitting on the ground and Tommy playing around her - that was the Tommy Tolen that I knew. I truly wish that I had known Tom. What a wonderful man. He will be missed by so many. And, I believe, he will continue to teach many more. I will cherish the memories that other have shared and focus on making my life special, as Tom did. All my love and sympathy - Shelli (Malm) Bushway

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Anne Furlong
12 years ago

Thank you, Shelli.

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Anne Furlong
13 years ago

I have been thinking about what to write on Tom’s memorial page—what’s the best memory, the most important memory, the vintage “Tom” memory… There are so many flooding my mind, that I can’t choose. So I think I’d rather tell you about my big brother. This horrid event has strangely made me think about myself and who I am, and I realize so much of me was made by Tom. We had the normal sibling relationship in many ways, when we were kids he felt he could beat on me but Lord save anyone else who’d want to try, but beyond the norm, we were very close. I think that Tom thought of me as his. He signed TOMMY TOLEN in such large print on my adoption papers that there was very little room for our parents to sign. I think perhaps that was apt because our parents split when I was a baby and Tom became the one who would teach me the things that are usually taught by a father. When he was a freshman in high school, I was in second grade—you’d think he’d hardly talk to me, but several times a week we’d walk on Spyglass with our dog, or he’d let me caddy, and he would tell me all about the world. The only wisdom I remember from his high school years was that Donny Osmond was a sickness and I needed to learn some good music (he let me babysit his collection of several hundred albums, with complete instructions as to what I should learn, when he joined the Peace Corps). But, while I don’t remember the advice, I do remember the hours and hours we spent together and how important that time was to me. That time didn't stop. Tom always made sure we had time together. Through the years I believe he taught me tolerance, acceptance, and the power of humor. He let me know, with all my imperfections (and he knew them well) he loved me. I never had to chit chat or hide my feelings and we could talk about anything. When I got married, he walked me down the aisle. When I got separated, somehow I ended up in Tom’s living room, babbling, while he mixed some mind-numbing cocktails. All the major events, good and bad, Tom was there. He is my brother and he is my friend and I will never be able to put that in the past tense. He’s still setting an example for me because he was so comfortable in his skin and I will strive to find that space. He could scream and swear at Nebraska or the Lakers, he could freely admit that Glee was one of his favorite shows and he loved a good musical, he could debate with intelligence and a breadth of knowledge that never ceased to impress me, and he was always available should you need him. He was a fully rounded, vibrant human being so full of life, it never occurred to me that I could lose him. We were blessed because we got to spend a lot of time together the week before his death—I will always cherish that time. We stayed up talking and drinking, went to a concert, had multiple phone calls and as always, emails. I am grateful to have two voice mails from that week, one a dirty comment (typical Tom) and one saying he loved me. When I was at the airport waiting to come home, he sent me a text that said, “I miss you already.” That’s a text I wish I could return, because, Tom, where ever you are, I miss you right back and will every day of my life. I love you. Anne

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Kathy North
13 years ago

You have our love and support. Deepest Sympathy John and Kathy North

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Danny Cartaina
13 years ago

Donna, I'm so sorry. I don't know if words can help at this hour but I'll leave a sweet thought. Tom and I often met up at lighting events and always ordered two martinis, (one each of course). The best time was sitting on country porch in PA (Lutron trip) in Adirondack chairs with the sun going down looking out over an open field of grass. God we had good laughs, that time they were two each, the drinks! I loved Tom for cutting through BS with a smile (like me), a sweet soul.

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Brad Harlan
13 years ago

Donna, I am SO sorry. Tom was a delight, as are you.

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Lizanne
13 years ago

Dear Aunt Donna, Anne, Tom's wife, children and friends - I'm so very sorry to hear about Tom. What a great loss. It was a pleasure to read what a wonderful, full life he had. I would've loved to have known him as you all did. I pray your memories will be a comfort to you. Love, Lizanne (Sinsel) Weber

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Michael and Ron
13 years ago

Wow, what can one say? Well lets us try. We have been friends with Tom for many years, but when Donna (yes, that is YOU) came into the picture, our 4-some became complete. Our trips to Roller Coaster Parks; Summer Parties, and the last 7 years of visiting Yosemite are memories that can never be taken away from us. Hosting your wedding 10 years ago was such an adventure that is still discussed to this day. We are honored to be that part of your life. Donna, you know us so well, and you also know that we can speak volumes. We love you, and Tom will always be in our hearts.

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Nancy Clothier
13 years ago

Donna, I still cannot believe this has happened. I loved looking at the photos of the two of you together. You look so happy and I know you shared a special bond. I only hope your family and friends can help you through this difficult time. I know Tom will always be in your heart. With love, Nancy Clothier

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Miguel Castellanos
13 years ago

Tom was a great colleague and a wonderful friend. He kept me motivated for many years in volunteering and being active in the lighting industry. I'll always remember him as the man who refused to wear a tie in favor of a Hawaiian shirt. My heart goes out to his family for he truly was a great one! Cheers to all that you did for us Tom! Miguel

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Cheri Cunningham
13 years ago

My dear friend, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. Please know you are in my thoughts and in my heart. Love, Cheri.

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Patrick Curtis
13 years ago

Tom was my Step Father. I always had of peace of mind knowing that he was my mothers husband. His sense of humor and personality where a perfect fit for our family. I am so thankful to have had him in my life. I am so grateful for the love he shared with my mother.Tom made her the happiest I had ever seen her. The two of them completed each other.Tom was a fantastic cook. If it had not been for him, I would have stopped eating with my hands at the age of 3. Mom, I love you more that words can say. Please stay strong during the coming months and years. We will always love and miss you Tee. My selection of Teddy Bears as an icon is to celebrate Tom's passion for collecting stuffed animals.He often referred to his home office as "Tee'sTeddy Town". I can't help but think every time I see a teddy bear, Tee will be looking at me through those sweet little glass eyes. Love Always, The Curtis Family Patrick,Dawn,Conor,Makenzie,and Brody

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Donna G Tolen
13 years ago

Thank you my dear twisted son. Your sense of humor was most appreciated by Tee and I'm sure he is having a good laugh right now. He loved you as do I. Mom

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Kate Trayte Freeman
13 years ago

Tom was one of my favorite people while in the Peace Corps. The website he built to commemorate our "stage with a serious attitude problem" is priceless. It was because of him that we started our periodic reunions and we sorely missed him at the last one this past October. Tom taught me to play Hearts and to appreciate The Grateful Dead while making fun of my paltry selection of cassettes tapes. Salaam, sahabi Tom. Kate Trayte Freeman

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Anne Furlong
13 years ago

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Anne Furlong
13 years ago

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Anne Furlong
13 years ago

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Anne Furlong
13 years ago

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Anne Furlong
13 years ago

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Anne Furlong
13 years ago

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Anne Furlong
13 years ago

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Vince Checchi
13 years ago

Rest in peace Tom. I sure hope I get to see you again someday -- the sun will be shining, the beer will be cold, we'll be young, and we'll be laughing our asses off. Until that day, peace brother. Vince

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Lori temanson
13 years ago

Dear Donna, Anne and all family members I was so saddened to hear of Tom's sudden death. And after reading the wonderful tribute about him I am so sorry I didn't get to know him or see him in his adult life. My memories are few, but I know in my heart he was a fine man. My sympathies go out to all of you at this time. Love Lori (Sinsel) Temanson

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Bill Drakes
13 years ago

Though I haven't seen Tom since High School, I am saddened to hear that he has been taken from us so early in life. I remember a peaceful, pleasant and selfless young man whom I wish I had remained in contact with. I smiled to read that Tom ended up in the Peace Corps. No surprise at all! He was a man of strong and good character who will be missed. Wishing his family God's Peace and Comfort in the days ahead. Most Sincerely, Bill Drakes LCDR/USN/ Ret. Dallas, Texas

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Darlene Vendegna
13 years ago

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Darlene Vendegna
13 years ago

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Darlene Vendegna
13 years ago

Tom was one of the sweetest, funniest guys I've ever known. One of my favorite memories of Tom is attending Lilith Fairs with him. He was a huge fan of Sarah McLaughlan and in spite of the fact that he'd be one of the few men in attendance he'd happily go to those shows, even though it meant sharing the men's room with hundreds of women. He was a spectacular cook, my first taste of Moroccan food was from his kitchen. If it wasn't for Tom I would never have met Donna who is now one of my dearest friends. He will live in my heart forever, whenever I listen to Sarah, or try a new recipe, or watch a Mel Brooks movie, I know that he will be beside me. Love you forever

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Donna
13 years ago

I love you Dar!!! Thank you for the loving memories of my sweet husband,

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Buz
13 years ago

I was lucky enough to serve with Tom in the Peace Corps in Morocco, and I'm grateful to him for getting back in touch with me, after a gap of many years, and putting me in touch with other members of our group. Our group of trainees has a closeness and camaraderie that no other group enjoys -- as far as I know -- and that is largely because people like Tom saw the value early on of keeping us all together. So thanks Tom, and I hope our paths will cross again.

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Melinda Morrison
13 years ago

Donna, I send my deepest condolences to you and your family at the loss of your husband. My thoughts are with you. Melinda Morrison

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Kim Keller
13 years ago

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Kim Keller
13 years ago