Friday, February 26, 2010

Tom Clark, 1947-2010

I'm growing tired of writing about old friends who have died, but such is the nature of things, I guess. Tom departed this dimension earlier this month.

You can find Tom Clark's memorial page at
You can leave a note if you knew him and so desire. 

On his memorial page he is described thus:

Author, musician, revolutionary, philosopher, loving husband, father and dear friend -- Tom Clark died on Saturday, February 13th, 2010. His wife, two daughters, and many friends mourn his absence.

Tom's 20 year career as a network engineer and author took him around the globe where he developed a large community of friends and professional colleagues.

Because there will not be a traditional funeral service, this blog will serve as an online memorial space, where those who knew and loved Tom can come together in comraderie.

We will be posting more of Tom's photos and stories of his life in the coming days, and invite you to share comments and anecdotes.

I knew a slightly different Tom back when. Below is my note.

"I knew Tom back in the 60s and 70s. It was a different Tom and a different time than many of the memories recorded here. Maybe not really such a different Tom, just a different direction at the time. I knew Tom, the revolutionary. Tom was my great teacher of Marxism-Leninsim. He brought me along out of my yippie-weather like revolutionary period (which landed me in prison by the way) to my more "mature" serious Marxist period. He knew his stuff and I learned an amazing amount from. Perhaps, the more important thing I learned was literally how to think, how to think dialectically. Perhaps, the least amazing was the goodness of coffee with ice cream in it.

We had our disagreements and eventually a falling out in the late 70s. After that I only saw him one more time.

Still, I remember the study groups, the newspaper, the famous chart, the bookstore full of Chinese and Albanian literature and periodicals as well as books from International Publishers. I remember when we handled the the Great Chinese Archaeological Exhibit when it visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City (that was a little strange adventure). I remember the CWG and WLS. I remember the time he cut my hair way shorter than I wanted. I think he believed an M-L shouldn't look like a hippie. I remember when he drove me home from my prison stay in the federal pen in El Reno, Oklahoma...a happy day.

But you know, from the reading above I find that the Tom then in some ways never really changed. In a time of rock and roll Tom knew classical music and classical literature, too. Tom was even in those times, I think, a gentle man, with a kind disposition, a strange little chuckle, and a certain fierceness. When Tom studied Marx and Lenin, he really studied. I think Tom so wanted to find the right way forward, but alas it wasn't to be.

Although we did not depart as friends I hope he had a wonderful rest of his life and I am deeply saddened to hear of his death. He was a fascinating man, a friend referred to him, in a kind way, as an anomaly. I think that's probably right."

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