Skip to content

Tom Kennedy Memorial News: It’s all about Loving Tom

  • by



If you can contribute money, please donate via this button
PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
Donate for the Tom Kennedy Memorial Fund to help the family, to help defray the costs of the Grand Memorial event in Oakland, and to bring back Ripper from France to be part of the permanent collection at Art Car World! A percentage of the money will also be going to the Tom Kennedy Memorial fund with the Nonviolent Peaceforce

The May 1 Loving Tom Memorial!


Loving Tom Memorial:

A Celebration of Life

thanks everyone that worked so hard, and donated so much. I think we all lived Tom’s slogan “have more fun then the bad guys”

Upcoming Events:


Remembering Tom 1 Year Gone

Time: 3:00PM Monday, April 12, 2010
Location:Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA

I’m not the only one who is still deeply affected by Tom Kennedy’s life and spirit. I think of him almost every day. His death is still so shocking to me, a year ago now. I plan to mark this anniversary of his departure from this plane by visiting the final place where he smiled and enjoyed life. I have nothing formal planned (Ceremony was the only thing close to the type of event this may be). I hope you’ll join me and tell others who were touched by Tom’s beautiful soul. Of course we all grieve in our own way and some may need to be alone for this time. I need to be with others who feel the same. There may be other events happening to commemorate Tom’s life. I’ll pass these along as I hear about them.

-Emily Duffy
ArtCar Fest Director

The Tom Kennedy Memorial Shrine

Tom Kennedy Memorial Shrine in Arkansas

Picasa Web Album, The making of the Tom Kennedy Memorial Shrine:

Contact for more details

Also, if you would like to add something, but can’t come to Eureka, please mail it to:

Mr. Shrine/Ralph Wilson
6893 Hwy.62 W.,
Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632

Tom in Minneapolis

“I imagine myself the Wizard of Oz,

passing out awards to you all!”


-The Genesis of the Eureka Springs Tom Kennedy Memorial Shrine

tomkennedy_memorialatnightTom Kennedy Mausoleum

Created during the Eureka Springs Art Car Weekend on May 24-25, 2009.  Envisioned by Mina Leierwood and Maryanna Harstad, facilitated and hosted by Ralph Wilson and Ranaga Farbiarz, with help from Rich & Pam Molden, Bill Vierick, Rex Rosenberg, Steve Liggett, Dave & Irene Majors and Kate Pearson.  With additional support from Harrod, Hunter, Alicia, Natalie and all who knew and loved Tom.  It’s permanent home/location is Celestial Windz Harmonic Bizaar, 381 Highway 23 south, Eureka Springs, Ar. 72632.  In the parking area next to the World’s Largest Windchime, the shrine is accessible 24-7.  We hope everyone will someday get to experience this wonderful, joyful expression of creativity, love and respect.

It was Mina (Bee Bike) Leierwood and Maryanna (Anishinabe Legacy) Harstad’s vision: Bring a boat, o.k. it turned out to be a kayak, and a vial of Tom Kennedy’s ashes to Eureka Springs, Arkansas for Art Car Weekend, and something special was going to happen, it had to.  It was important being with friends who knew Tom.  Mina emailed Ralph (Flag Car) Wilson, aka Mr. Shrine, to ask his assistance with the project and the wheels were set in motion.  Ralph was leaving town to teach a workshop he had scheduled in Wilmington, N.C. but the email from Mina convinced him, through an intuitive link and the added persuasion of his Bisbee, Az. friend, Kate (Love 23) Pearson, to stay and work on the shrine.  Mina & Maryanna cut the end off a kayak, found in the rafters of Mina’s garage, to fit into Maryanna’s hatchback Art Car.  With the kayak, a vial of ashes and a carload of art supplies, they set off for Eureka Springs.

Friday night, at Bill (Shuttle Van) Vierick’s welcome party Mina brought Harrod and Mr. Shrine,
to the Anishinabe Legacy to show them the kayak.  Her enthusiasm for the shrine buiilding was infectious and her faith was solid.  Kate and Ralph had come by my shop earlier that day to check out The World’s Largest Tuned Musical Windchime.  Their visit convinced me to go to Bill’s that night, where I first met Mina and Maryanna.   When Ralph called me over to the kayak-filled car I had no idea what was up.  Ralph, however, knew that we were going to be involved in the making of the Tom Kennedy shrine, but all I knew was that these women needed some room in their car so they could enjoy the next day’s activities downtown.  I wasn’t planning on participating in the Art Car Weekend at all, but there we were standing in front of the Anishinabe hearing about the mission the Minneapolis women were on.  Mina was adamant that the shrine to Tom be created over the weekend.  Ralph knew he had to be involved.  At that point I felt like a spectator, but a place was needed to realize the vision and I happened to have the space and tools to help it come together.  By Monday afternoon, we all knew the purpose of why we met at Bill’s that night.  None of us realized, though, at the time, how profound that experience was going to be.

Tom’s shrine has now taken on a life of it’s own, as a beacon of a life worth living: of love, joy and committment to a greater good.  It’s life, however, has just begun and we invite everyone who feels drawn to contribute something to it’s evolution.  We’ve had two consecrations of the shrine.  One on Memorial Day night, with Mina, Maryanna, Ralph, Bill and myself.  The Shuttle Van provided a shroud of fog that permeated the ceremony.  The next was the permanent installation Ralph and I did with added assistance from the Conduit, a travelling group of sound healers whose mission is to Gong the Planet.  The gongs are instruments of global peace in their hands.  They were thrilled to be a part of the creative flow that marked the shrine’s genesis.

Tom’s remarkable life continues to influence and inspire all who knew him and those who will be fortunate to experience his memorial shrine.  Please visit if you are in the area.

You may send items to be placed at the shrine to:

Tom Kennedy Memorial
c/o Celestial Windz Harmonic Bizaar
381 Highway 23 south
Eureka Springs, Ar. 72632

Ranaga Farbiarz’s thoughts and feelings: (June 15th, 2009)

I never met Tom.  I barely knew of his work, but the spirit of the project was overwhelming.  His obituary had been in Time magazine the previous week and I felt the tragedy of his death.  Mina and Maryanna’s determination and loving energy opened my heart to want to participate in creating a fitting memorial to a wonderful man, who had given so much to the art car community.

We planned on meeting Sunday morning at 10 a.m. to begin the work.  It was a labor of love for all involved.  A creative flow, the likes of which I have never experienced.  I got to know Tom through the stories that were told during the creation of his memorial.  Those of us who worked intimately on the shrine became connected on a deeply spiritual level. The experience has transformed my feelings towards the art car movement.  I was reawakened to the original spirit that had drawn me into the art car world, only I didn’t know it could still exist for me. The people, the creativity the no bullshit, ego-less giving for a cause larger than ourselves.  This is what I imagine Tom was all about.  Seeing his work, hearing people who knew him personally share stories and anecdotes, working together to elevate the awareness of the joy of life and sharing of love. Float on bro, keep spreading the love and joy!  It ain’t over ’til the next Big Bang!  Thank you, Tom, brother in spirit, your presence will be forever felt!
namaste, ranaga farbiarz

Maryanna Harstad’s thoughts and feelings:

Mina and I had been mulling over the idea of heading to Eureka Springs for a while.  As weeks went by after Tom’s death, we began recovering from the shock and started hearing stories of the memorial service in San Francisco. We realized that we wanted to get together with others who knew Tom. The trip was planned and the shrine idea started to take shape.  My car (like a  lot of art cars) had a few problems.  Mina had started using the phrase “What would Tom Kennedy do?” Well Tom for certain wouldn’t let the possibility of a breakdown prevent him from taking a journey to see friends.  I can picture in my mind a scene last summer when a crew of artists/mechanics were working underneath the Greyhound bus so Tom, Haideen and Mike could get on the road from Minneapolis.  With WWTKD as a touchstone, we hit the road to Eureka. Twists of fate, serendipity, synchronicity karma, coincidence – whatever you call it – a list of all we experienced would be pages long.  It happened with hearts that were both heavy and joyful. It was extraordinary.
Maryanna Harstad

Ralph Wilson’s thoughts and feelings:

Dear Mina, (May 26, 2009)
Thank-You for all your help.  We consecracted the Tom Kennedy shrine last night, Memorial day 2009.  I want to thank-You, Maryanna, Kate(Love 23), Ranaga, Pam(Kuntry Peddlur) and all who worked on the shrine.  We started sunday am, and it flowed like a river, with all of us working as one.  The shrine is so beautiful.  We moved the shrine to a spot right along Hwy 23 S. In eureka  It is on the site of the world`s largest wind chime.  It faces East.  The altar piece is a Kayak, which Mina and Maryanna brought from Minneapolis. I had copper from Bisbee, I will send pictures out soon.  Harrod and Hunter were here, it was very much an Art car family Project.  I was very moved, I had meet Harrod and Tom In Santa Fe, at the folk art museum in the 90`s at a recycling show.  The shrine will eventuall live in its own little house(Nicho) and have shelves for folks who wish to bring things, it is accesible 24/7, and there will be signboards on either side telling the whole Tom story.  I was so moved and grateful for the way it flowed.
Shrine On!

Greetings, (May 29, 2009)
I have built many, many shrines in over 25 years of doing this. This one is very very moving to me personally.  I had met Tom and Harrod at a recycling show at the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, in the early 90`s.  They invited 10 art car people, and 10 recycling artists, Harrod reminded me of this.

The Shrine is a permanent installation, we dedicated it on Memorial Day, last Monday.
Ranaga, who built the world’s largest wind chimes, and myself have sworn to be keepers of the shrine.  Mina and Maryanna from Minneapolis, and Kate from Bisbee convinced me to stay in Eureka Springs for the Art Car Weekend and potential shrine building.  I was on my way east to do workshops, something told me to be here.  Eventually we will build a house for the shrine, with shelves so people can leave mementos there.  If you are close to here, please call me or Ranaga, we have places to stay.

It was many people working as one.  Death does inspire art. Mina brought a vial of ashes with her.   They are in a small box she made inside the shrine.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Every day at 7pm we light a candle and send good thoughts.  This whole thing is magic and I am so honored to be a part of it.
Love Hugs, Ralph

(May 31, 2009)
Boy, i am so connected to this shrine.  I can usually let them go, but it was hard to leave the shrine tonight.  Fear tells me about disasters, faith is the flip side.  Tom finally said to me,  “go home”.  He said it was my desire to go home and be in that beautiful peaceful place, but as god has said to me, you have work to do.

I pray for the strength and direction to do it.  And you all have helped me so much, with a real project from the heart of all of us.  I am so blessed.  I as you know am pure stream of consciousness.

Ranaga was under his wind chime surrounded by gongs, bells and tibetan bowls.
He had a vision that Mina and Maryanna, were holding his hands.  I sat nearby, and felt I was being lifted up.  If that is heaven, nirvana, the hereafter then it is a beautiful golden glowing lightness, where all is well.  I do go on, all my love and hugs
bye bye, Shrine man

(June 13, 2009)  Yes, in the building of this Tom and I have had many conversations.  Someday we will meet and I will share with you.  His root message to me was never take yourself to seriously, and keep on your Art Ed Outreach, no matter what.
blessings on all of us, Ralph

Mina Leierwood’s thoughts and feelings:

My dear Haideen, and my dear friends, (June 1, 2009)

Maryanna and I have been talking so much, thinking of you and Tom and wondering how you are doing. All of us in Eureka Springs were reflecting on the impact one person can have. As we were finishing Tom’s Shrine, a tourist stopped by to see the giant wind chimes, and asked what we were doing (Maryanna was wedged inside of the kayak, holding a piece of plexiglass in place while the silicone dried “This looks strange, but it isn’t,” Ralph said.) We were all laughing while we worked!

This tourist recognized Ripper the Friendly Shark and was sure he’d met Tom. A total stranger on a road in Arkansas was impacted by Tom Kennedy too. Random ~ but life is so full of patterns, and some days we just seem to be understanding these patterns, and how they weave our lives together to form meaning. Mr. Shrine and I reported tingles on our arms where the hair would stand on end. As if understanding was coming faster than thought.

Some of Tom’s ashes are there because Allen C gave me a little bottle. They are inside a small ‘mausoleum’, which Ranaga and I created using a cigar box “El Rey de Mundo”.

I echo Ralph in saying this was such an important piece/ process/work of love and art. Many people from many parts of the country worked on it. Kate from Bisbee, the Tuscon contingent….I was so happy to be there doing this. Sometimes sad, but mostly happy. Ranaga was saying, grief is mainly regret, and if you have no regrets over how you’ve spent your time here on earth, grief is light and easier to bear. Light and wind and earth connect us. Sound and water. We have a peculiar family of transformational people who engage in this life so fully. Since Tom fancied himself the Wizard of Oz, handing out awards to us all, I must accept this honor as a part of this Family of Wizards. And the magic continues.

Haideen, thanks again for being a part of our lives! I’ll never forget meeting you last summer in the parking lot of Intermedia Arts with the Mega Patriot Missile Truck. You were so happy to meet us!!! Minneapolis will welcome you with open arms anytime. Mr. Shrine wants to come to Mpls. for our parade, and would like to work on another shrine here. If you are interested in visiting us ANYTIME please come!!!!!!!!

LOVE is all ~ Mina L+++++++++++++++++++++++++++


May 03, 2009

Family and Art Car friends of Tom Kennedy join Bishop Joey for a few words, fireworks and tears at Ocean Beach, where we last saw our friend smile. Music is “Taxi Suite” by Rare Air. You will be loved, Tom…

David Silberbergs’ video of the memorial at the beach

A great tribute of Tom and Ripper from Chuck Cirino of WeirdTV Tom was an early and frequent contributor to Weird TV. This wasn’t only a loss for his family and friends – it’s a loss for the entire planet.

A tribute from David Sliverberg


Ode to Tom:


Add an image, video, or story about Tom.

Or read the ones that have already been sent in. His mom Pat is collecting works for an art work. You can also email in your stories and images or links to :


Obituaries on Tom:


Loving Tom Fest Coverage

Barbara Frieds images of Boxshop memorial & LovingTom Fest:

Ken Duffy’s coverage of the memorials and art car procession

Scott Beale’s images & videos of Loving Tom Fest

The Flickr Pool:

Mr. John Hell’s set

Tracy Swedlow’s write up
Laughing Squid article on Tom with lots of images, details on the tragedy, and comments

Jigglebox by Rick McKinney

Oregonian Obituary

Los Angeles Times

Daily Kos by Patrick GogginTime Magazine

San Francisco Examiner

The Daily Cougar, U of Houston newspaper

Houston Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Bay Guardian

Chicken John’s Blog