Thomas Willard Hungerford
April 29, 1916 – May 25, 2000
Dear family and friends,
I’m sending this note to all the folks in Tom’s address book. It’s like taking on his role of ‘grand correspondent’. He loved to write letters and keep in touch, almost on a daily basis, for the 25 years I’ve known him.
Tom offered us his assistance in many, many ways–first and foremost, with his quiet time alone in meditation and prayer… his continued reading of the Joel Goldsmith books (The Infinite Way)… his dream-sharing at mealtimes… and his passion and appreciation for Nature, especially butterflies (be it a real butterfly flying around, or a butterfly pin, or a butterfly sticker, no matter the size or color).
He was a ‘buddy’ to all children, playing and reading and entertaining. He loved the monthly music night sing-a-long gatherings. And it was always a treat to be in the yard and hear the piano music coming from his dear Snowberry [the cabin where Tom lived].
Every week Tom bagged up the trash, loaded Blue (his beloved truck), and was off to the recycle bins in Roanoke. While in town, he would visit the Laundromat (washing the community’s kitchen towels as well as his personal laundry), do some shopping, and perhaps take in a movie. He was also excited and appreciative about being actively involved again with his friends at the local Masonic Lodge.
Tom could often be found in the garden, helping with weeding, planting, and mulching. He would wash jars and cut tomatoes or apples for the big canning days. You also could find him sweeping and picking up odds and ends, boards and sawdust, left by those working on our new community building.
Tom was always on hand to help unload and re-stack lumber from trucks, and would measure and saw boards for others. Last fall he and Ron were a team putting up the exterior siding. And on insulation days he would fill the hopper with dry cellulose for Jonathan, who was at the other end of the hose blowing the stuff into the walls.
Until recently, Tom used to help mow the lawn on the riding John Deere mower and would give me a hand splitting chunks for the community’s wood cook stove. He also helped me peel the grapevines that I use for handles in my basket business.
Over the years, Tom and I shared many hours side by side, washing and wiping the dishes after meals and telling stories and laughing. Anyone who knew him will have many similar stories and memories of Tom-as a friend or correspondent, as a father or grandfather figure, and as our pal.
In loving memory and fondness,
[For more stories about Tom, see the series of articles called Choosing to Age in Community.]