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Condolences from Jenne Giles

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Hello Pat,

My sympathies to you for the loss of your son.

Tom was the best sort of person. I had the great pleasure of knowing him and experiencing the joy that he shared with people near and far around him.

Tom was a home-town hero of mine. I will never forget how we got up early one day to bring our terrible version of an art car down to the judging booth as it was just beginning to rain on one of those muggy Houston mornings. They kindly let us take our place with such luminaries as David Best driving his Buffalo-head car in front and Crow, with his Red High-Heeled motorcycle show behind us. But wait-there was a back up in the line! The cars were being held up to create a drag-way in front of the judges and screeching from behind came a silver bullet: a shark, fishtailing all over the road. Sure enough- it was Tom, swinging to a halt and waving his shark fin for all to see.

Tom was an original. He was a great artist and sculptor. I will never forget visiting him in Placerville and feeling the exuberance he brought to building the whale, his largest art car yet at that time. He was always pushing himself further. He did so with the greatest sense of responsibility for what he was making: to make it both the best and the safest he could. He was unwaveringly considerate of other people and found ways to get everyone involved. He had an infectious sense of fun like that-a twinkle in his eye that made everyone want line up and get aboard!

Tom was a gentleman with one of the biggest, most generous hearts. He was always gracious. I will never forget when we were arrested at the RNC in 2004 (really-we just went down the wrong street for all the right reasons), Tom lent me his jacket to keep me from getting sick in the lock-up. Tom was really the kind of guy who would see a puddle and put his jacket across it to let a lady pass. They don’t often make them like that.

Tom was passionate about everything he did and was like a lighthouse beacon, sharing his love for life with everyone who saw his light. To meet him was a life-changing experience, and I think, after meeting him, you cant help but carry a bit of that spirit with you wherever you go. Perhaps, like that, we can all remember Tom by continuing to share his unique spirit, his love and respect for life, forward into the future.

Tom was a great man and he will be dearly missed by all who knew him. My deepest sympathies are with you and Haideen at his unexpected loss.

With warmest regards,

Jenne Giles