Monday, October 3, 2011

Goodnight Sweet Prince

As some of you may have heard, Tom Hunter suffered a massive cardiac event last Friday afternoon while sitting outside of his cottage on the shores of Northern Michigan's Torch Lake, considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

After a (mercifully painless) hospitalization in Traverse City Tom departed this world at around 3 AM this morning.

Although our local group, Oberon, was started in 1999 by Barbara Burris and myself and Tom joined us a little later, he has become (in my opinion at least) the soul of our group. He has served as our Chair for these many years and has kept us on track and helped build Oberon into a well-respected local Oxfordian group (of course I don't want to take away from all the great efforts of many of you).

Tom's death is a great loss for Oberon, as well as for the Oxfordian world in general. Tom has been very active in doing research and has published many papers in Oxfordian newsletters and other media outlets. He has presented many papers at our national conferences. In fact he was scheduled to give half of a presentation at the upcoming conference in two weeks in Washington, DC. Luckily (for Oxfordians) Tom Townsend will be able to present both his own and Tom Hunter's parts of the presentation so that Tom's latest contribution will at least be heard. I only regret the loss of any future great work from Tom.

I can take a little comfort in the fact that Tom was able to see the movie Anonymous at a special preview event last Thursday at the University of Michigan, a movie poised to revitalize interest in the Authorship Question. Again, I'm just sorry that Tom will not be able to directly experience what I feel will be very interesting times ahead for all of us.

My heart and prayers go out to Tom's wife Rosey and his daughter Lisa as well as his large extended family.

Finally, I am comforted with the knowledge that at last Tom knows the truth about the origins of the Shakespeare canon, a truth we should (with Tom's example) continue to pursue for ourselves.

"Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing you to your rest"
Hamlet, Act V

Rest in Peace, Tom.

With great sadness,

Richard Joyrich

R. Thomas Hunter, PhD, will be laid to rest October 8, 2011.
The celebration of Tom's life will begin on Friday, October 7 from 2:00-8:00 pm with visitation at the A.J. Desmond Funeral Home, 2600 Crooks Road, in Troy, Michigan. 248-362-2500.
Services will be held on Saturday, October 8 at 11:00 am at St. Hugo of The Hills, 2215 Opdyke Rd, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. 248-644-5460. 
The funeral procession will proceed to the Resurrection Cemetery 18201 Clinton River Road, Clinton Township, Michigan.
Following Tom’s farewell, there will be a luncheon at the Fern Hill Golf Course, 17600 Clinton River Road, directly across from the Resurrection Cemetery.

Please share your tribute to Tom by clicking on the word "comment" below. 


Cheryl Eagan-Donovan said...

My deepest condolences to Tom's family and many friends. He was a brilliant scholar who will be missed by all of us who revere Shakespeare as he did.

Cheryl Eagan-Donovan

Anonymous said...

This is part of a tribute sent from Dr. Heward Wilkinson: ". . . we have here the brilliant, Autolycus-like, knack of seeing connections, and valuing unexpected sources, that ‘snapping up of unconsidered trifles’, yet in the light of a sturdy commonsense, which made it such a joy to collaborate creatively with Tom. There was always a sense of very deep recognition and appreciation, which was entirely unfeigned, and which extended to the Oberon group as a whole, in my experience, - to whom, as well as to Tom’s family, our hearts go out.

William Ray said...

My first encounter with Tom Hunter was through one of the list-serves. He offerred to check for me a reference I had seen--because he was going to the Folger Shakespeare Library himself. This indicated essential human generosity. When I ran into him soon after at the Ashland conference in April 2011, he confirmed the impression of warmth. He was a mensch, someone of bright natural cheer. It has been said that a soul is reborn in the same astrological sign in which he died. If so, Tom will be much the same. May his goodness emanate then as now.

Sarah said...

I had the immense pleasure of going round Detroit with Tom and hanging out with him and Rosey a few years ago. Rosey and Lisa, my deepest sympathy to you and all his extended family. "We shall not look upon his like again."

Anonymous said...

I would like Tom's family to know how much I miss him already and extend my deepest sympathy. I recall first meeting Tom on one of our forums and knew right away that here was a clear, honest voice from a man who drew upon all of himself for his ideas and insights. I valued him more and more as time went on and was always glad to see him in person. Tom, you remain in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

So sad to hear this devastating news.

I will be forever grateful to Tom for wholeheartedly
supporting the Shakespeare read aloud group. Annette and I especially cherish the
enthusiasm with which he tackled the reading of A Christmas Carol at our house a couple of years ago and for being such a gracious host at his house gatherings near the holiday season.

You will be missed very much by us, Tom.

Prashant & Annette

Anonymous said...

From Sidney Lubow:

I always learned something I did not know from Tom, a gentle-hearted soul on his way to Paradise. We will miss him.

Tell me not in mournful numbers.
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

A psalm of life.

Anonymous said...

From Richard Malim:
I too will greatly miss Tom Hunter whose wise correspondence both to Phaeton and myself I always found encouraging and instructive.

Anonymous said...

From Sundra:
Though I only knew Tom from his postings I must be counted as one who was touched by his death. I always appreciated his clarity and insight.

There is no shock quite like that of the sudden death of a loved one. My own husband died in a thirty second interval while we were laughing over a private joke.

My heart goes out to Tom's family. After the storm there is calm.

Anonymous said...

From Derran Charlton:
I grieve at the sad loss of Tom, and express my heartfelt condolences to Rosey, Lisa, family and friends. His startling brilliance and careful/ thoughtful reasonings added so much to all of our lives.

I first met Tom -in the States- many years ago, and so much enjoyed
his welcomed presence and carefully reasoned correspondence. Less than a month ago I was assisting with the preparation of his forthcoming book The Merchant of Venice.

A gentleman has passed our way.

Bruna Vernier Lilly said...

Dear Rosey: My heart goes with you and for you. The husband,Tom, will always be with you. I saw how close you two were. You will miss this humble and generous person that Tom was and so will many of us. His patience and discipline and knowledge manifested the teacher he was, always to be there to reference in heart and soul..Bruna

psi said...

I always wanted to hear what Tom was researching and writing about. He brought to those tasks a very considerable training including a PhD in English that made him into a leader of the Oxfordian movement.

I have many fond memories of Tom, but my favorite one is from Shapiro's lecture in Stratford, Ontario last summer. Shapiro ended up taking quite a few questions from Oxfordians or people who sounded like they were coming from an Oxfordian perspective, and Tom was the last person he called on. Since he was sitting in another part of the room from other Oxfordians, Shapiro thought he was "safe." Big mistake.

Tom started off by linking his question to some of those that had come before, and then asked Shapiro why so many Shakespearean scholars thought that Polonius was a caricature of Burghley, and if that could have anything to do with authorship. Really not the question Shapiro wanted to end the talk on.

Tom was a real leader for us in many ways -- the kind of leader who keeps focused on what matters, doesn't make a big issue out of himself, and always shows up for the most important battles. We will miss him very much.