Proctor alumni, faculty, former faculty, trustees and friends gathered Friday at a memorial celebrating the life of Tom Eslick, who succumbed to cancer on January 15. Most of our tears were shed months ago; this was a time to sing and appreciate a few of the many songs Tom wrote, to share stories of his playful antics, and to honor his dedication and love for humankind.
Tom was easy to know, and those who spoke had no trouble capturing his essence! In his remarks, Chris Norris introduced the "mischievous twinkle" that we knew, a theme repeated by several others.
In remarks entitled "Remembering a Friend," David Fowler recalled the moment in 1974 that he asked Tom (who was visiting Proctor as a guest artist) if he would accept a position as Chair of the English Department. David imitated Tom's voice as he responded, "Okay..."
Friday's memorial was not a religious service, but was held at a lovely New London church with the capacity to accommodate the throng. The photographs that follow are from the adjacent fellowship hall, where a reception followed. This was the first time that Heads of School David Fowler (1971-94), Steve Wilkins (1994-2004) and Mike Henriques have been together! Below, they posed with Susan Eslick.
Proctor's first Director of Development and--later--trustee, Sandy Elsass greeted by John Eslick '85, who was here from Los Angeles.
Kevin Kenlan, who taught sciences from 1975-80 catches up with Social Science teacher Brooks Bicknell '77, whom he knew as a student.
Tom was instrumental to advancing the role of female students during the first decade of co-education (since the early thirties,) running girls' dorms, coaching the first female hockey teams (with David,) and leading girls' Wilderness Orientation groups. Below, Anya Reed '87 and Wendy Chambers '86 flank a Colby College friend of Jason Eslick '88.
John Schoeller enjoys a moment with former School Leader and trustee Justine (Alston) Payne '81.
Loren Appel '93 with her mom, legendary Social Science Department Chair, Connie Appel.
As these faces indicate, Friday's memorial was bittersweet, and even joyful. It was, as Jason told me, just what he would want, and we felt his immediate presence.
Mike Henriques is greeted by Susan.
Keith Barrett '80 with John as Edna Peters and Greg Samaha '71 await their turn.