Rest in Peace, Tom

Now I’m REALLY tired of writing these damn things…


Tom Anders was a volunteer at the SLCC Library for…longer than I was there.  He and his wife Lorraine were an old, retired couple by the time I became a student, much less an employee.  They would shelve books, organize cards, etc…whatever we needed.  Didn’t expect a dime.  Just liked doing it.


Most people on campus didn’t even know they were there.  They came in for a couple of hours on Fridays for 10+ years.  Always quiet and mild-mannered…they just worked away and didn’t bother anyone, and no one bothered them.  The only people who took notice were the Library workers.  And we loved them.


Lorraine is still with us, but Tom just died.  He was very old.  A war vet (and not Vietnam).  A cantankerous old guy.  Funny in that way old men are funny.  In the time I knew him, I watched his memory and physical abilities slip until about two years ago, their children made the decision to move the Anders into an assisted living facility (not a nursing home…more of a retirement home).  As an irony, I’ve driven by their retirement home ever since I started the new job.


Before they were moved, Jan Fordyce (Librarian before me) had a great idea.  She arranged for the Anders to attend a Chapel service at the college and Dr. Chambers mentioned them.  He pointed them out and noted that they’ve been faithfully working in there for over ten years, and the school presented them with a plaque for their loyal service, a copy of which hangs in the Library now.  Virtually none of the students knew who they were, but I was WELL proud of our student body that day.  The entire Chapel rose to their feet and applauded, where normally they would have just sat and nodded.  They made a LOT of noise.  Genuinely touching.  It’s one of the few times I ever teared up in Chapel (which should tell you something about either the regularity of my attendance or the typical quality of the speakers, but I’m not sure which).  I bet that was the last time anyone really made a big deal of him on this Earth.  I feel good to have had a small role in that.  But I bet the ovation when he walked through the Pearly Gates was even bigger…everyone there probably knew just who he was.




Tom’s gone.  Larry’s gone.  Joe’s gone…  It’s getting to where if you walked into the Library and I liked you, you’d better watch out.  (So, Dayna…Matt…heads-up, alright?)  At least Tom had a nice, long, full life.  That’s something.  But it’d be really nice if no one else died for a while…’kay?


Current Listening:

  • I’ve recently dug out my old Madison Greene CDs.  I miss those guys.

4 thoughts on “Rest in Peace, Tom”

  1. that makes me very sad – to hear that I’ll never see him again.
    He never failed to know my first name, and tell me everything I wanted to know about our card catalog (having heard the not-so-soft curses I sometimes muttered at it)
    I must’ve missed the Chapel in which they were mentioned. I wish I’d been there…

    1. I think you might’ve been in Dallas at the time…I don’t really remember when exactly that was. But yeah, it was a really great day. And thanks for sharing that about Tom. He was a really awesome guy.

  2. Seems like SLCC has lost several really great people all at once-it’s sad. And I’m with you-no more deaths please! But just in case, Matt and I will watch out for falling objects! 🙂

    1. Yeah…it’s getting depressing. Hopefully we’ll have a window of good health for the staff and alums for a little while, anyway. 🙂

      …also, watch out for the Library Ghost. Y’know…from Ghostbusters. I haven’t ever seen it in there, personally…but it’s gotta be SOMEWHERE, right?

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