Thursday, January 29, 2009

Too soon..

To the family, I'm sorry to have found out today about Tom. I saw Tom regularly at the Wednesday night track workouts and at Edwards Health Club a few years back. Outside of him being a phenomenal biker/runner, I remember that large welcoming smile he greeted me with every time I saw him. With that large smile and a firm strong hand shake, he made you feel good about yourself...a quality that not everyone has.

We love you Tom and we miss you badly.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Video slideshow

I did the best I could with the photos I had to work with.

If you think this will work, please pass on to the rest of the list and family members.

-It was truly a labor of love, we miss him so much.

Star McAleese
Star Design/Graphic Design

NOTE: If you would like a DVD of this, Star will make them available for $10.00, to cover the cost of materials, packaging and postage. The quality will be much improved over YouTube. Email Star to order:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

From Hal Carlson

I believe there were five of us that started that 200 mile bike ride some years back, Tom, Terry, Brad, Brad's old business partner, and I. We started at 1 a.m. in the morning so we could "finish up" with the Sims Ride. Even at that time in the morning Tom was smiling and with his always positive nature helped us all finish. It was great to see him again at some of the Wednesday night track workouts this past year. Tom will truly be missed from this point forward and in my book will always be a member of the "Hammer" "Hammer" "Hammer" Club. Say Hi to Chuck for me Tom … Hal.

Our Friend Tom

My name is Brad Kampschroeder. Tom knew me as “Kampy”. He must have made it up because he is the only person who has ever called me that. Like many of you here, I came to know Tom through running and cycling. There is a bond among runners and cyclists that is tempered by long hours of training together, on countless miles of asphalt and trails. We talked about everything from our training regimen, to work, to politics, to our love lives, to the latest techno-gadgets for our bikes. I have long maintained that endurance athletes lose their sense of shame around each other. In fact, there is no bodily function that isn’t fair game for conversation during a run or ride.

It was in these long conversations that it became abundantly clear how much Tom loved his family. He always had a place in his heart for Joanne. He beamed with pride when he talked about what his kids Brad, Stevey, and Corey were up to. He was proud of their accomplishments, and stood by their side in the face of adversity. We rode the roller coaster of their growing up through Tom’s stories. By the way, I’ve got a lot of dirt on Stevey . . . something about a car.

It would sound like an exaggeration for me to say that Tom Swatek is the most generous person I have ever known. But it’s true. He would give you delicious baked goods that he made himself. Quick story: Tom always toted all his stuff around in a bag. And somewhere in that bag was sure to be an old banana. Not a banana that you or I would eat, but an over-ripened banana. He gobbled those old bananas up like candy. We said, “Dude- those bananas are barely fit to use for banana bread.” A week later Tom shows up with banana bread. The early batches were just “okay”, but they got better, and he kept bringing them. His most recent batches of banana bread were some of the best I've ever had. Then there were the “gems” he pulled from the garbage - he always had one picked out just for you. “Kampy- I thought of you when I found this,” wearing his trademark grin as he held up a bike part. “Can you believe people throw this stuff away?” Tom would give you the shirt off his back, but most of all he was generous with his time. Whether it was moving furniture, a fix-it project, or just a little moral support during a difficult time; Tom was there. When our good friend Marta Bush died, Tom would go over to play with Spencer during the weeks and months that followed. He set up an obstacle course in the basement, American Gladiator style, much to Spencer’s delight. He was even generous to his dog. When Merlot was dying, Tom sensed that she became distressed if he came home from work and left again for a long workout. Tom changed his workout schedule to a shortened run right after work so he could be at home with her, uninterrupted.

Tom was a garbage man, but he was also a renaissance man. He enjoyed music, cooking, current events, art, and science, to name a few. He was always curious, always learning, always eager to try something new. Most recently he aspired to become proficient at a European form of bicycle racing called cyclocross, which is basically racing a road bike on an off-road course with obstacles. It requires a lot of special technique and he was ready to learn.

My favorite quality of Tom’s was his acceptance of people, regardless of who they were. I honestly never heard him utter a bad word about anyone. Even when a group of us would start laying into someone who wasn’t there to defend himself . . .Tom’s contribution to the conversation? A smile and, “C’mon he isn’t that bad- he’s got some redeeming qualities.” And so it went, for the entire 14 years I knew Tom. He could find the best in a person, a reason to like everyone.

So as we gather here trying to make sense of how tragedy can take down that strong body you see in the pictures and the larger-than-life personality that went with it, I ask you to join me in resolving to be a little more like Tom. Take care of your body, take time for someone who needs you, accept people for who they are, grab hold of every day with the smile and vigor that is Tom Swatek. With a little of him in each of us, the world will surely be a better place.

Friday, January 9, 2009

We are confirmed for Ballydoyle's tonight. You will need to tell the front door that you are reserved for the Cathedral Room to avoid paying a cover charge. this is from the owner:

Jim:You and your guests are confirmed for the Cathedral Room this evening with an anticipated arrival time of 9PM. CASH BAR. Please have your guests let our doorman know that they are here for the gathering in the Cathedral Room so a Cover Charge is not assessed.I will not be in this evening, but you will have a server assigned to your group that can take drink and/or food orders.Enjoy your evening.
Warmest regards,Eve DunnDirector, Special EventsBallydoyle Irish Pub
How about meeting up at Ballydoyle's after the service to tell more stories and have a brew in honor of him. It's been said that Tom's been know to tip a few there.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Peddle stroke high and to the right

I see many people mentioning Tom's crazy peddle stroke. I don't remember how he said it happened but at some point he had broke his pelvis, I'm sure Mike will remember how. Imagine that broken pelvis and all, and he could still hammer with the best!