I was a close friend of Tom Rysinski’s, and I’m in the Golden Triangle for a week helping his companion with the awful aftermath of Tom’s surprise passing.
It occurs to me that Tom didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to readers before dying recently at age 56, breaking the hearts of numerous friends and associates who held him on a high pedestal. I’m not writing this to tell readers how wonderful Tom was; I want to tell readers how wonderful Tom thought they were.
Tom didn’t casually throw praise around, but he told me often during our text conversations, “You would not BELIEVE how kind and genuine the people are here.” He’d enthusiastically tell me about, say, New Hope High’s softball season or football road trips to towns with funny names like Bogue Chitto. I traced his adventures on a map, looking forward to the day I’d see Tom’s new home for myself — the pharmacy near the railroad tracks in Columbus that he was fond of, the W (he had an affinity for that school and talked about the importance of covering it well), The Commercial Dispatch’s offices. I also wanted to experience the warm embrace Tom described after his arrival here.
While I’m a visitor in your region, I want to tell you all “thank you.” Thank you for treating my friend so well. Thank you for helping ensure that the final year in his life was one of his better ones. Thank you for the way some of you have helped out tremendously following his passing. I will never forget it.
There will be no services for Tom. Anyone who wishes to pay tribute may make a donation in his name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Brian Sandford, Santa Fe, New Mexico
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