Tonawanda News

Columns

March 16, 2013

There is no joy in Buffalo -- tonight

Tonawanda News —

The world lost a man last week whose life and impact it would be impossible to sum up, even with every free inch in this newspaper.

I guess the simplest way to put it is: I lost a friend. 

But Tom Joyce was much more than just a friend. He was a mentor, a partner in crime, a king of barroom banter, reader, lover and critic of books famous and not. He was not a journalist in the literal sense of the word but if our job is to write history's first draft he was one of the finest scribes I'll ever know.

I came to know Tom as a freshman at Canisius College in 2000. He and his best friend, the late Mel Schroeder, were English professors and moderators of the college paper, The Griffin.

I came to The Griffin sort of through the back door. I thought I wanted to get into public relations and a work-study job in the school's PR office brought me in contact with some of the editors. 

The first time a story broke that made the school look a little silly my bosses in the PR department instructed me not to tell any of my Griffin contacts about it. Ten minutes later I snuck out for a cigarette and called in the tip. From that moment on I knew I wanted to report the news, not hide it.

At the ripe age of 18 that was about all I knew. 

Together, Mel and Tom offered clarity in those blurry, heady days of post-adolescent discovery and expansion.

Were it not for Tom and Mel I would have failed at journalism and I'd probably be churning out the second-rate pressers that ceaselessly flood my inbox exclaiming, "New Dunkin' Donuts opens in Hoboken, N.J.!" 

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