We arrived in Pleasant Hill, OR on Tuesday to celebrate Tom's life and to embrace his spirit and passion for all things celebratory. Tom was Robin's very first ceramics instructor at Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, AB (96-97) and undoubtedly the friend and mentor that sent Robin off on his trajectory towards a life of clay. We will miss him immensely.
But we'll keep Tom alive in our hearts through our cherished friendship with his equally inspiring life partner, Kathryn Finnerty. We love you Kathryn and are so grateful for all that you mean to us.
Peace, love and pots. - Rohr
Tom died of a heart attack on July 8, 2009. He was born in Detroit and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Tom received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, apprenticed with John Glick at Plum Tree Pottery, and earned an MFA in ceramics from Louisiana State University. After teaching pottery and making pots in Montana, Colombia, Spain, Alaska, Calgary and Winnipeg, he moved to Oregon in 2000 with his wife, Kathryn Finnerty; together, they founded Pleasant Hill Pottery. In 2004, he became a pottery instructor at Lane Community College. Tom taught and mentored scores of young potters in the U.S. and Canada, and designed and built kilns in Michigan, Alaska, Winnipeg and Oregon. Tom’s pots have been exhibited throughout North America, published in ceramics books and magazines, and featured in the film The Go-Getter, for which he was a creative consultant.
In addition to being a celebrated and beloved ceramic artist and teacher, Tom was a gourmet, gourmand, musicologist, sports aficionado, adventurist, master of ceremonies and world-class bon vivant. His joy was contagious, his wit superlative, his hospitality bountiful and his spirit immeasurable. To meet Tom was to know joy, to know Tom was to learn it.
Tom will be celebrated and enormously missed by his wife Kathryn, his mother Ann, his siblings Margaret, Sarah, Matthew, Lisa and Martha, his nephews and nieces Casey, Claire, Mike, Laura, Stephanie, Dan, Teresa, Anna and Emma, father-in-law Tom Finnerty, brother-in-law David Finnerty, godchildren Freya Tagseth and Ian Bruggeman, and hundreds of other colleagues, friends and relations. He was predeceased by his sister Mary and his father, Richard.
Tom’s funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Eugene on Tuesday, July 14 at 12:15 PM. A celebration of his life will follow directly afterward at Tom and Kathryn’s home in Pleasant Hill. (Map) In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Food for Lane County and Studio Potter Magazine.