TRPC input – Thom Wilson Reflections
by David Greenwald – December 2017
Thom Wilson was my best friend. Thom was a role model for me in how to be fun-loving, decent, kind, and always looking out after the well being of others, including myself. I was blessed to witness his gusto for life and his concern for others in many diverse settings; As a very caring President of the Twin Rivers Paddle Club; As an accomplished drummer in the Oriental drumming circle; As a man highly skilled at renovating homes to provide for his family; As a man who loved and cared for nature, especially in the wetlands near Swansboro.
A couple years ago Leann, his wife, dropped us and our kayaks off at Goose Creek west of New Bern. We paddled down a peaceful Goose Creek and into the Neuse River, headed for New Bern. It was blissful and beautiful. As we entered the Neuse we saw dark clouds way off in the east and at the same time the wind picked up, blowing right at us. The paddling got harder and harder, and we debated bailing out at Glen Burnie Park. Caving to the macho little boys inside we decided to keep on truckin’ to our goal, the sandy beach next to Persimmons. Then I got more and more tired, battling the wind. Thom, always looking out for others, threw me a tow rope, and I grateful hooked his line to my kaya. By the time we got to the docks in front of Persimmons the Neuse was a washing machine with three foot waves. We barely made the turn, then zipping up on the beach. It was only later we learned there was a tornado touched down at that time near Beaufort.
Something many of you may not know about Thom – he was very well read in philosophy and theology. One of his favorite books he loaned to me was Dynamics of Faith by Paul Tillich, written in 1957. I had many special times with Thom in his basement study, getting into a back and forth dialogue over one of his favorite books.
Late in the afternoon the day before he died, I had three private and special hours with Thom. Most of the time he slept, fitfully. At one point the sun was shining in his eyes, and I began to get up to block it. He said no, that he enjoyed this peaceful quiet time, with the sun glistening on the Trent river below, with his kayak in the rack down by the shore, waiting for one last paddle.