Eulogy for Bill Tom
I met Bill Tom when I was editor of The A/PGF Newsletter and he volunteered to travel all the way from Ventura to No. Hollywood, to help get the newsletter out to the members. This involved licking stamps, folding newsletters and inserting them in envelopes, which had already been addressed, stamping them, stacking, sorting, etc. He showed up every month and was the hardest worker there and never complained that one job was more difficult than another. From this first involvement with Bill, a genuine affection developed between us.
Over the years I called on Bill to help with many tasks. One of the biggest jobs was A/PGF’s hosting of the International Friendship Weekend in 1997. His main duty that weekend was to greet visitors, give them their name tags and presentation packets. It was a very stressful job that he handled with his usual aplomb. During the weekend, whenever something needed doing, I knew I could always count on Bill’s assistance.
Once Bill retired from teaching in Ventura, he moved to No. Hollywood, not far from where I lived. We often found ourselves going to the same event and went together, usually in my car. That was my choice as I loved to drive and made a horrible back-seat driver for others at the wheel. I’m pretty much a pain in the butt when it comes to time, but I could always depend on Bill to be ready to go at the appointed moment. I enjoyed his company greatly.
When I made the decision to move to Thailand, I needed someone in L.A. who could act as my roommate, receive my mail and sort junk from important pieces, and most importantly, forward to me my drugs and anything else I might need. Whenever I returned to L.A. for medical check-ups or procedures, I stayed with him and he was my transportation to and from hospitals and doctors. His help in this cannot be diminished. Only when he himself went through his own cancer and treatments did this assistance halt. In spite of his illness, he continued until I was able to find another “roommate” to help continue a line between L.A. and Chiang Mai.
Bill really enjoyed Bangkok very much and made many trips there and to other locations in and around Thailand. On one of my infrequent visits to Bangkok, I was joined by my new bf and he got to meet Bill, An, Kwock, and Jonathan and we had a fun evening together. That was the last time, I think, that I saw Bill. Since he was not big on communication, even emails were few and far between so I was quite shocked when told of Bill’s demise. I miss him and think of him often with much love and affection for a genuine gentleman.
October 27, 2016