Tonawanda News —
That, or working in it.
Tom and Mel taught me more than I can possibly recount about good writing and good sense. The thing they gave me most — the most precious thing to impart — is the spirit that drives any reporter worth his salt, a relentless passion for the truth.
It was with great sadness I had occasion to mark Mel's passing two years ago in this space. I still can't comprehend the idea that both these great men are gone. How can it be that their combined wisdom and knowledge, so expansive if it could be transcribed it would fill libraries, is gone from this life?
I can only shake my head.
Just the same, in a fitting homage to Tom Joyce, intellectualism is but one topic to cover. He was one of the funniest bastards I ever knew. His effervescence took over a room as he hop-scotched from one topic to the next, tossing quips, slinging darts in any direction his manic mind thought warranted. He was blue, unafraid to make any joke no matter how cross. And he got away with it because more often than not it was so funny even the stickiest stick in the mud was doubled over laughing.
He got away with it, too, because despite the utter lack of sacred cows, Tom loved everyone and everything with fierce sincerity. To be pilloried by Tom was at times the highest of compliments. It meant you were important, loved. (Though he offered many a withering critique where he saw pomposity and arrogance — two traits rarely in short supply in academia).
Tom had a knack for summing things up succinctly, with humor and heart. Permit an anecdote:
We shared many passions, Tom and I. Perhaps the greatest is Buffalo Sabres hockey. (He named his daughter Gilbert, after the great Perreault.)