Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Love Letter to Tom


Today, we said goodbye to Tom.

This is a hard line to write. I keep rereading it as I write this post about a guy who has touched so many lives and has had such an incredible impact on how we live ours. Ironically, Tom was such a humble guy and would probably hate all this focus on him. He also hated too much sentimentality and embraced irreverence. He would never forgive me if I didn't say something about farting at this point.

Tom Masterson was my brother in law, married to Debbie's twin sister Dennie, and the closest thing to a blood brother I had since my own brother passed away 20 years ago. He and Dennie have three great kids who married three great kids and who now have a total of eight great kids of their own. We have a big family ... very big family ... a real blessing when you're fighting a horrible disease like pancreatic cancer.

Tom was a medical malpractice attorney. No, he was not the billboard grinning, shiny suit ambulance chaser. Tom was an ethical, professional, compassionate attorney who stood heads above the rest. He was given just about every award of excellence that the Bar Association awards every year.

He was loved by everyone. That's not an exaggeration. He really was. And as I said earlier ... he was irreverent with friends and family, telling jokes and playing jokes on just about all of them. And I really think that we all loved him for it because we knew that he truly loved everyone he joked with and about. Tom was an encyclopedia of jokes. He remembered every one he'd ever heard. I was so jealous of that because I forgot every joke as soon as I told one.

Did I mention farting?

Tom was an athlete all his life. His real love was judo. He competed on the big stage, trained athletes and went to the olympics as a coach. They all remained very close over the years. Apparently, that was where Tom got his finely tuned sense of irreverence. Spending an evening with the judo buddies is not for the faint of heart. I had that pleasure often and marvelled at the stories ... the brutal punishments they dished out on the mats ... and in the locker rooms (even I can't tell you some of those stories).

Tom died of complications from pancreatic cancer. He fought against the odds for three years and finally lost one of the few matches in which he'd ever competed. He never complained. You would have never even known he was feeling any pain or discomfort. He travelled with the family, went swimming with the grandkids and had regular lunches with the guys until the very end.

He was my hero, He was a real man ... in yiddish we call that a "mensch".

So I would like to ask you to do me a favor after you read this. In Tom's memory I'd like you to muster up all your strength and let out one last beautiful FART.

I know he's smiling.    

2 comments:

Unknown said...

so sorry to hear of Tom's passing. Hands down Tom Masterson was the most liked and most respected attorney in Pinellas County in this generation. He leaves us all one final lesson - how to die with dignity and bravery and completely selfless, putting his family and friends first. I salute you, my friend. I will never forget you. Thoughts and prayers for the entire family.
Cindy Clark

Unknown said...

I didn’t know Tom, but you have given me an opportunity to get to know him through this beautiful eulogy. Thanks Joel!

My Rewrte: "BABY, JUST GO OUTSIDE"

I just heard there is a new version of Baby It's Cold Outsid e recorded by John Legend and Kelly Clarkson. They changed the classic...