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Evelyne Schoenmann

Qotw: Do You Have A Story For Us, Featuring Tom Roberts (Aka Tjr) ?

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Dear friends, this week I have very sad news for you: our friend, colleague and dedicated fellow potter, Tom Roberts, aka TJR, died of bone cancer on the Pentecoste weekend.

 

I want to dedicate this QOTW to him and ask you all to tell us stories, experiences, adventures, discussions you had with Tom. He was very popular and was writing and helping a lot in the forum, so I know almost everybody here knows something to tell about dear Tom.

 

My own story goes like this: At NCECA 2015 in Providence, Pres introduced me personally to Tom. I knew him from the forum already a long time, but never saw him personally. I immediately loved this mountain of a man with his special humor. When he stood up to tell his story at the first "clay story" evening of Steven Branfman's, he walked to the microphone with a gait, pulling at his trousers while walking. Then he stood at the mic like a vintage rock star and brought the house down. He and Pres helped to clear away the Potters Council booth and when it was time to say goodbye, we stood opposite of each other, a bit awkward, not knowing whether to just shake hands or to..... "Give us a hug!" he said, smiling, and then this mountain of a man gave me a big bear hug! I cherish this moment in my heart, knowing that we can't ever hug again.

 

What is YOUR TJR-story?

 

Evelyne 

 

 

PS: this is his obituary: http://friendsfs.ca/book-of-memories/2500113/Roberts-Thomas/obituary.php

and here his wife's email address: brigittewiebe@gmail.com

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Oh my goodness. I had no idea he was ill. What a major loss for the forum, he was an excellent contributor from nearly the beginning. I wish I could have met him in person.

 

My "story" about Tom is that everytime I "liked" one of his comments, he sent me a PM thanking me for the like. He did not take anything for granted.

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This is so weird.  For the past month I have had Tom on my mind - I did not know why...

 

Last year I reached out to Tom about a hip replacement. I knew he had it done. He was encouraging and said all the pain went away after the surgery. He seemed to always be encouraging people.

 

One of the greatest tips I have gotten from this forum was from Tom. He said to reconstitute dry clay, put about a cup of water in the bag then place the bag in a 5 gallon bucket and cover with water. The pressure of the water in the bucket will drive the water in the bag into the clay. It does and I have been recovering  8 year old clay with this method.

 

Rest In Peace, Tom.

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Sad news. 


 


Tom dropped me a thanks too for giving him likes, gracious gentleman. He pm’d me trying to think if he had friends in my area of Canada that we knew in common, I’m thinking he had friends everywhere he went.


 


rest in peace Tom


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He didn't even say he was sick!!

I thought he was just absent because he was busy with school. I was looking forward to seeing him around more at the end of the semester.

He would leave little Tim Horton's jokes all over the forums there for a while about the disastrous results of using Tim's cups for your glaze tests, and we would have a little giggle in PM at how "Canadian" we were, and shake our heads because no one else got it, like the two silly kids in the back of the class.

(For those who don't know, Tim Hortons is a coffee-and-doughnuts chain that is almost a national religion here. The cups are everywhere.)

 

Our clay education had some of the same "parents" in it. We swapped stories about the differences between workshopping with Robert Archambeau and having him as a full-time prof. I got into a fancy gallery recently, and he was the first one of everyone here I told. He was very glad for me. We swapped Netflix recommendations. Dude had a taste for silly zombie shows.

 

I will miss him a lot. Even if he kept forgetting I was a girl.

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I did not have the pleasure to met him in person; however I have read many of his posts. Everyone has their personal revelations after dealing with clay and glaze for decades. Some are gracious enough to share them with others: a shame such a voice of experience is now silent. Prayers for his loved ones who must be grieving over the loss of such a kind soul.

Tom

 

 

Tyler-  good to see you posting again.

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He was so helpful. I was rebuilding my gas kiln and had trouble getting an even firing & he reminded me about the importance of bag wall height and explained why & how. So sorry to hear of his passing & to I am happy to have "met" (online) him. He was a genuinely very nice person!

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I have been hurting over the last few days thinking over all of the memories I had of Tom.  We had often PMed each other over likes, then over teaching, and school, and retirement. Always a considerate gentleman, always aware of another persons feeling on line. It really came as no surprise for us to get together at NCECA  2015.  It was my first year on Advisory Board, and my first NCECA. Tom and I met at John Baymore's presentation; him looking for my hat, but I was holding it in my hands. We spent the rest of the conference together finding that we really had the same values and tastes in pottery and people. I was amazed at how many folks he knew, and that he treated me like I was just as important as any of them. We were instant friends. I missed him at KC, and found out why he could not make it just before I left. I really had no idea, hoping I guess that he would pull through. I have a deep sadness right now over the loss of Tom, but know that he must have had a lot of pain, remembering back to how he was limping even last year. He gave me a reason, and never let on. I'm sorry  I could not have been a better friend to Tom, and will miss him Oh so much. 

 

best,

Pres

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My cup of grief is overflowing about this. Its my second friend in two weeks to pass away. I never met Tom personally but talked to him on the phone and sent him a studio potter magazine last year he was in and did not know it.We planned on meeting next year in Portland. We both considered each as fellow colleagues and friends-we are both the same age. We had communicated many times via e-mail.We knew some of the same people in clay. He did tell me about his illness but I asked him about it as he was a private person on these matters and would never bring it up himself.I had to pry a bit as he was on the ballot for the potters council and withdrew so I pried a bit about this.  I did not know it was this advanced so I'm a bit set back about this to say the least. Tom shared his life with clay and teaching to me over the years .

 

The story I will share is this one-

I discovered from one of my studio Potter articles( issue Vol 43  #2 summer/fall 2015) I read that he was an apprentice for Michael Cardew in England (1978-1979) as well as being an Alfred'sCeramics Graduate.I called him and spoke to him about this as I was shocked he never told me about this in his life. He said he did not want to have one view him in any different light about this and feel all the hoopla from exposing this chapter in life to others. I called the editor of studio potter and had them mail him this issue  as a gift.This article was reprint from a 90's copy of studio potter which I copied and mailed him as well.He shared a few things about Cardew that I will always recall but not mention here.

Tom was a very humble individual with a incredible pedigree of ceramic background.I did mention this in a thread once but he played it down.

He explained to me about being a Canadian as Diesel said above and how that was a different view and take on things. I think I got it as best as one who lives down south.

 

We both spoke on visiting one another at our studios and it was a open question which would do it 1st.

He shared some of his life's trials and tribulations which I will alway cherish .

I have had a lot of loss in my life with family and friends and this news is very personal for me.

I will remember Tom as Friend in all things except meeting face to face

He is kept alive in our memories -his advice his voice his life

I feel the loss myself as well as his families .

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This is such sad news. My sincere sympathies to his family and friends. It's a strange situation - to feel as though I've lost someone I know, but I've never met. As someone who has only been on this board for about 6 months, I read it religiously and have definitely come to think of many of you as people I "know." Tom answered questions I asked, and I knew anytime I saw his screen name that the comment would be kind and often funny. The world needs more funny & kind. I wish his family much comfort.

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Tom was a quiet,  humble, gentle man who avoided the spotlight. When I invited him to be a candidate for the Potters Council Advisory Board he accepted with enthusiasm, honored that he would be considered and looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the organization in that way. It was only when he was absolutely certain that his health would prevent him from following through that he, even then, reluctantly withdrew his nomination. He accepted life but never acquiesced to it. I'm honored to have had Tom as a friend.

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I crossed paths with Tom a few times & missed a chance to have coffee a couple of years ago, my life got in the way. I'm sorry for that. I also read & enjoyed his forum posts. I wish him a happy journey at his resting place near his beloved cottage.

Joy

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I'm not known for being an emotional person, but having read all the comments above, I have tears in my eyes.  I too have lost another dear friend this past week, someone I saw every week, but the loss of Tom is just as deep.

 

My regards and sympathy to his family.

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Though never happen to meet Tom but got to knew him thru his various indispensable posts.

I, vividly remember he dropped a message thanking me for likes.

 

Pure soul,who will be missed a lot.

 

 

My heart goes out to his family ,during this difficult time.

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I read this topic's title and am having trouble grasping the reality of the loss. Wow.

Tom and I never met, but my message box here on the CAC is full of our conversations.  As a couple of old(er) guys we joked about so many things.  I was not at all aware that Tom was ill and regret that I wasn't paying attention to his absence on the forums.

Here is Tom's last message to me, just a few months ago:

Paul;

I am doing well. My art gallery just called me to pick up 3 boxes of pots. Slow time of year. Nothing is selling. I am still making, though.

Tom.

 

I raise my mug to Tom...Here's to the hope that you are still making!

-Paul

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TJR has been a forum friend for many years. We shared stories and chats for many years. He finally came to NCECA 2 years back. He visited the Potters Council Booth many times during the event and we chatted quite a bit during those moments. As Evelyne said he jumped in to help us pack up the show. We wanted to go out and have a beer together but our schedules never seemed to coincide. I walked back to the hotel with Pres and Tom. It was my first time meeting Pres as well. Tom gave a brilliant story at the Clay stories. My potter friend from 25 years ago , Anne Faliis, moved to the Manitoba area about 10 years ago and was well aware of Tom's professional reputation there. He was a large force in Clay in the Manitoba area.

He was generous with his knowledge and had a warm and knowing smile. It was a pleasure to finally meet him in person.Myself and others invited him to run for the Board and he was elected. It is such a loss to us all to have him taken before he could serve on the Board and share his warmth as well as knowledge. RIP Tom.

Marcia

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I have just caught up with this.

I am so sad. He gave such sound advice in such a friendly manner.

He took time to pm me on a few of my probs, always thanked me for my likes.

His humour was soo right.

So sad that he did not get time to fully enjoy years in his new studio.

I still get agiggle of the time he wrote re. Getting frozen into his studio and having to call his sons to come and whale the door down!

His students were so lucky, they and his family are experiencing such a loss

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Like Babs, I am just getting caught up on this.  In fact, she is the person, who alerted me to it.

 

I can't say I have a really good TJR story, but like others have mentioned, he sent me several private messages.  He was always more than willing to offer advice and assistance to anyone.  I could always depend on him for some good classroom stories.

 

Between his postings here and work as a teacher, his contributions will not doubt be missed.

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