I’ve been blessed to live in special places and get to know some special people.
At the top of the list was Tom Allmond.
In 1991 Pam and I, with a baby, made the move from Fulton to Aberdeen. I was 29 and stepping in as publisher of a community newspaper that needed some revival.
The first people I met were some wonderful ladies in town who wanted to make sure I was the right person for the job. I assured them their paper was in good hands.
Shortly thereafter I met Tom, an elder for the Aberdeen Church of Christ and owner of Allmond Printing.
Tom, about 60 years old then, took me under his wing, so to speak. He introduced me to Aberdeen. He gave me all-important knowledge for a young man moving into a new community to lead the community newspaper.
He gave me advice. He gave me encouragement.
We went to church together. We were in the Rotary Club together. We hung out together.
Tom loved sports. So, naturally we hit it off in that regard, too. We had a lot in common.
And not only that, my family became close friends with Tom’s family. One of his daughters and some of his grandchildren babysat for Pam and I, watching after Emma and later Andy. Tom’s wife Jean taught Pam how to make her favorite chili. And Pam is still cooking it.
Tom passed away Sunday, Feb. 18, at the age of 86.
On Tuesday evening, Feb. 20, Pam and I drove to the Aberdeen Church of Christ for visitation. It turned into a happy reunion with many, many good friends, which is the way Tom would have wanted it.
As soon as we walked into the foyer of the church, the hugs began. Then came the smiles and the laughing. It continued for about an hour and a half.
I had almost forgotten the funniest story involving me and Tom. Pam and I were attending the same auction with Tom and his wife Jean. As we walked in, Tom waved to me. The auctioneer thought he was bidding and Tom won himself a desk that he definitely did not want – for $100. He had just told his wife “that’s the ugliest desk I’ve ever seen.” I offered to pay for it, but naturally, Tom just laughed and said “no.”
In talking with family members last week, we also relived a trip to Atlanta, Ga., to the SEC Basketball Tournament. Four of us made the road trip – Tom, myself, Tom’s son Tim and Terry Walters. It was one of my favorite road trips ever – good friends and lots of basketball.
All my memories of Tom are the best. He had a one-of-a-kind smile and he would help anyone.
He had more knowledge of the Bible than anyone I’ve ever met.
Tom loved God most of all and his family a very close second. And others definitely came before himself.
He was a workaholic. I’d find him at Allmond Printing early in the morning and late at night and on weekends.
He was a good man. I was blessed to know him, learn from him, to be his friend.
“A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth.” – Ecclesiastes 7:1.