As we grow older, family members and friends will invariably pass away.  Some losses are harder than others.  For me, this is the case with Tom.  I can’t imagine how hard the loss has been for his loved ones. 

Tom and I were friends for over 50 years.  We shared many life experiences as we traversed through high school, college, fraternity life, studying in Sweden, traveling through Europe, and later as we eased into our “maturing” years to golf trips and family outings.  We shared a lifetime of laughs, not the least of which in our academic year in Uppsala, Sweden where Tom is still fondly remembered by those who knew him, and even some who only heard about him. I will never forget that special year.

Our bond grew tighter as we passed through the various stages of our lives, more so during his valiant five-year struggle against cancer.  Throughout his fight, I never heard him complain or indulge in self-pity.  To me he remained upbeat and optimistic.  Right up to the end, he seemed to me the same old humorous Tom, more interested in finding out what I was up to than documenting his painful ordeal.  He displayed extraordinary courage.

People have many life-long acquaintances and associates, but few experienced the kind of friendship I shared with Tom.  It endured for over a half century because we both derived great pleasure from our relationship. Engaging, funny and insightful, Tom was easy to like.  We would laugh at old stories, toss around new ones, and trash talk, which he could do with the best, but also be serious, talking about sports, politics, parenting, and the numerous foibles of life.  We shared our hopes and fears, joys and regrets.

The Tom Ault I knew was bright, straightforward, generous and funny.  He could converse intelligently on many subjects.  He was self-confident, without arrogance or pretense, his powerful voice bolstered by the power of his convictions.  He was a skilled debater who would back up his arguments with facts and logic.  We didn’t always agree, but mutual respect only strengthened our friendship.  You knew you could trust what he said, though one had to be on guard for his frequent tongue-in-cheek diversions.  Tom’s sharp mind and engaging personality help explain his notable success in the legal profession.

Despite passing far too early, Tom lived a full life.   He saw a lot, did a lot, and accomplished a great deal.  He enriched many lives, not the least of which was mine.  His passing has left a deep void in my soul.  I miss and will never forget him.   

Ron Fox

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