2017-01-05 / Front Page

TOWNS MOURN PASSING OF COLUMNIST

Just A Thought Or Two


Tom Reilly 1955-2017 Tom Reilly 1955-2017 Sometimes there are no words. You hear news that you never expect nor want to hear, news that you immediately know will leave an indelible mark - your best friend has died.

Devoted husband, father, grandfather, teacher, journalist and friend, these descriptions do not do a man justice and can never capture the whole of a person, especially someone like Tom Reilly.

He was the smartest man I knew but yet the most self-deprecating. A kind man, but one who was never afraid to lead a charge when he saw injustice or irresponsibility. A private man, but one who bragged about his family like no one else. A student of history and literature, he could amaze with obscure facts and then just as easily reference Game of Thrones. It was written of St. Thomas More that “(He) is a man of an angel's wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons”

Quite simply, Tom, too, captured the embodiment of a man for all seasons.

Last year, Tom wrote “Oh, like all of you, I have everything — a home, a family, renewed good health, excellent medical care, a wonderful job and the feeling of living in a community where I matter and am valued.” and he meant every word of it. He wrote sometimes to entertain, other times to prod, but always spoke the truth. He reveled when people wrote him letters about his column, regardless if they praised or damned him, as he knew they would be reading again next week.

We talked politics a lot, poking fun at ourselves and others. However, he was most passionate when discussing his family. His pride and love for all of them was unmatched and it’s a side of him I was happy and honored to experience. It is only fitting that his Facebook profile picture is that of he and his young granddaughter.

Trying to use words to capture the brilliance of a writer is a fool’s errand and I won’t continue to try. Instead, let me close with words borrowed from John Huston speaking about Humphrey Bogart:

“Himself, he never took too seriously — his work most seriously. He regarded the somewhat gaudy figure of Reilly, the watchdog, with an amused cynicism; Reilly, the journalist, he held in deep respect … In each of the fountains at Versailles there is a pike which keeps all the carp active; otherwise they would grow over-fat and die. Tom took rare delight in performing a similar duty in the fountains of Millbury. Yet his victims seldom bore him any malice, and when they did, not for long. His shafts were fashioned only to stick into the outer layer of complacency, and not to penetrate through to the regions of the spirit where real injuries are done … He is quite irreplaceable. There will never be another like him.”

We won’t see you next week Tom, but you’ll never leave our hearts and thoughts. Goodbye my friend.

Bill Borowski, former selectman
for the Town of Millbury

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