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Memorial created 02-28-2015 by
Art Cook
Thomas Coast Ball
December 5 1950 - January 28 2015

art and tom waking up in morning!

Tom, For almost 35 years you have been my closest friend. We shared so much together. Sure we had a lot of ups and downs, but one thing I realize -now more than ever- is that you were always there through thick and thin. Always! You didn't judge me and I knew that no matter what was going on, I could count on you in any situation. You would have done anything for me and I knew that.

So many memories now that I think of..... Mostly, I think of all the laughter and fun we had over the years. We were always making each other and our friends and family laugh weren't we? You with your snarky comments that brought a different outlook on a situation. You truly were a man of many talents - expertly cook a roast one day, rebuild an engine the next! But one thing that stands out most is that you cared about people, especially your friends. Your brother Mike said it best at your memorial in Wellsville "My brother had a servants heart". Remember the winter of 1991 when we got snowed in at the cabin on the Chatanika River (outside Fairbanks) and had to hike out several miles? We knew we had to leave early if we were going to get out, but when we came to the River, there were two very cold, wet and exhausted canoeists. Boy were they glad to see us! So, we hiked back to the cabin and you started a fire to get them warm and cooked them up a hearty meal of whatever was left. We spent the night and the next morning, after hours of digging and trying to drive out, we ended up hiking out - there was so much snow - leaving the truck there till spring.

 

winter in Fairbanks - Tom, Art, Jim

I'm the one that grew up in Alaska, but you taught me how to fish- even though you couldn't touch them being allergic - I had to remove them from your line. But you just enjoyed being out there on the river. I'll miss your dinner parties. Nobody could cook like you. I wish I'd of paid closer attention, although I doubt I cold ever cook a "leg o' lamb" or rib roast to perfection like you could. Or your pate' that we would always tease you - "tastes like underwoods deviled ham".

I'll miss your spontaneously bursting into song. Yes, I know, I used to give a big sigh every time you'd hear a song on the radio and look at me. You somehow knew them all ....even the most obscure ones... every lyric. You'd ask "Do you want met to sing it for you Art" I'd say NO!!! But you would anyway and I'd roll my eyes. I wish I could say yes now. "What do you call a person who's brain dead and cant stop singing? A Perry Coma! har har har The Halloween Party at Donald's house where Eleanor Roosevelt showed up - and not one of us knew who you were. It was hilarious! You were creative and spontaneous. I don't ever remember you NOT wanting to do something or be up for an activity or travel.

 

Friends at one of Tom's house parties

I will think of the years we had the bus company. So many miles and years of driving thru Alaska, so many people, so much work, so much fun! All those mornings getting up, getting the buses ready, heading down to the Visitor Center in Fairbanks to pick up the passengers and drive them 360 miles to Anchorage. Two vans turned into 7 busses! Thank you for being part of my family, helping make the hostel a success, and my mothers life a bit easier, being there to help with whatever was needed and loving my mother and family as I do. You made us all laugh and taught us how to look at the funny side of people and situations. When our friend Andy was sick and near his end in 2009 - completely alone in his little apartment in Seattle, it was you who flew out to be with him until the last. We were his family.

 

As Eleanor Roosevelt

I certainly wish you were here now. My mother found a letter you wrote last year when our friend Claude died ~that brought back a lot of memories recalling the years when we and our friends spent a lot of time together. In it you wrote "I think about the time that we all spent together. Those years night after night. Maybe those were the best of times." They were good times and good memories. You were the larger part of the experience. Nothing will be the same having to carry on without you.

 

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