Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remembering Tom Strand

By Kyle Heironimus
Feb 12, 2011

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

Some of you may know this as lines from a song sung by the Byrds 40 years ago. Others as verses from Ecclesiastes in the Bible, that the song was based on, written 3000 years ago. Either way, we all know that it is true. A time to be born, and a time to die... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.Today, we have come here to remember and honor the life of Tom Strand. Some of us knew him as a hard working, dedicated coworker. Some as a great musician to jam with. Some as a computer enthusiast or occasional trout fisherman. But we all knew him as a quiet, friendly, kind man. There's nobody that didn't like Tom.

As his coworker at DMP, I and many others remember him as a hard worker. He designed the hardware and circuit board for nearly every product that DMP sells. He was always very meticulous, making sure every detail of every part was correct before signing off on it. This meant that oftentimes, he worked long hours to get something out the door on a deadline. He never missed a day of work in his first 10 years at DMP.

Before coming to DMP, Tom also worked on custom stainless steel designs, electric motor designs, and the design of heating and air conditioning units. On the side, he had an advanced HAM radio license and built himself a new computer every few years. He was always involved in some kind of technical thing or gadget.

However, I haven't told you about his most interesting job. Anyone who knew Tom well knows that he was very interested in music. As a boy, he couldn't wait to get out of school so he could go home and play guitar. He was in a band throughout his school years. Of course all that had to come to an end when he graduated and got married. He needed to work a real job and move past the rock and roll band ideas, at least that is what usually happens. Not in Tom's case. His wonderful wife Mauna Loa encouraged him to quit his “real” job and give the band a shot. Even though the band didn't take off like they had hoped, Tom would always remember the adventures they had.

Whenever I heard him reminisce of those days, you could see the love and respect he had for Mauna Loa for supporting him during those days. He also told of the first days of their marriage when Mauna Loa got up early every morning to fix him a big breakfast before he went off to work. His love for her was apparent anytime he spoke of her.
 This song was important to Tom
Love is the Answer by Todd Rundgren
Many of you here may not be familiar with all that I have just told you. However, there is one thing that everyone here does know. It's that Tom was a genuinely nice, caring person. In the days since his passing, I have had many, many people come up to me with their memories of him, and consistently, the comment I heard was how kind he was. He got along with everybody, even during stressful times with deadlines at work.

He was not just pretending to be kind. If he thought you were off base about something, he would tell you straight up, usually with humor thrown in. I remember several times when I was his supervisor that I would get uptight about a looming deadline and he would tell me to settle down with some kind of quick, dry humor thrown in. It was frustrating for about two seconds, but Tom's smile and the realization of his humor would cool me off immediately.
Over the last several months, I had the pleasure of getting to know Tom, as well as Mauna Loa and his mother Mrs. Owens better than I ever had. During that time, the thought that occurred to me over an over again was “Why did it take him getting cancer for me to get to know him better and appreciate his friendship?”

In the Bible, James, Jesus' half brother says You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We talked on many occasions about God and we didn't always agree on things. However, he always appreciated the prayers that I and many others prayed for him. He knew that God was a God of grace and that for us to be saved, it must be by God's grace.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul says...For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

He also knew that God cared for us and that he was a God of love. Jesus says... For God so loved the world that he gave is one and only son that whoever believes in him shall be saved.

Jesus also says...Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

When Tom asked me to speak here, he didn't tell me what he wanted me to say. Even though I don't know exactly what Tom would want me to say, I'm pretty sure it would be to live intentionally. Don't wait for an illness or a tragedy to make you show how much you appreciate the ones in your life. Don't wait until you, your friend or family member has terminal cancer before you give them a hug. Tell your friends and family how much they mean to you.

Hopefully, we can all live by his example of not getting too worried about the things that seem urgent now, but really are not important. Hopefully we can be like him and keep a sense of humor in all circumstances. Hopefully, like Tom, we can enjoy the blessings God gives us in this life, like music, family and friends. And hopefully we can be loving, caring and kind to all those we meet.

The apostle Paul says... If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 comment:

Tom Demers said...

I didn't know Tom Strand, but after reading this, I would love to have met him. Great article, Kyle. Thanks for posting this Mark.