Hi This was a good friend of us all - he was 37 =

Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores

George Hirst

Tribute to A Friend March 9,2006

I met Tommy Klepfer shortly after we moved to Stark County. He was a friendly boy who did not ever seem to know a stranger. As he was growing he always seem to look me up and would ask questions about my life and me. He always remembered some of the things we had talked about. Tommy did not talk much about himself. When his Dad died and he and his mother moved into town I would see Tommy about town talking to people, visiting in the stores, talking on the streets.

I was out of town when Tommy left us. I was sad because I did not get to attend the services held in his Memory. People told me that his visitation here was large, over four hundred people. That was no surprise because Tommy was not a pest who bothered people but he had a way about him that was likekable. He had moved to Canton twenty years ago to a sheltered residence. A memorial service was held for him there that was attended by over a thousand persons. Tommy had left Canton with memories of a person who was other centered and made no decisions about who or what they were. A contingent of firemen from Canton had attended the Wyoming service because Tommy paid attention to their work and would talk to them about how things were. A professional football player was in attendance.

The thing that underscores who this man was is an account which his mother, Jay told me. At the Canton service, the funeral director came up to where she was sitting and told her that there were some people outside who wanted to ask her something. She told him to bring them in, but he said they would not come in unless she said it was all right. So Jay went to the entrance of the auditoriium and there was a contingent of street people, homeless people who asked if they could attend the service because Tommy was their friend. Jay said, I told them that if they were Tom's friends of course they could attend. So they came in.

This is the crown of Tom Klepfer's life. Of all the people he knew and was interested in, the firemen, the policemen, the national athlete, the preacher of a small church in a small county, his interest for these the people who struggle with life, who are poor and neglected are most important.

Tom was an open minded person. This is the lesson for us. Be a friend to others. Tom was a friend to me. I wonder if I was a friend to him? I knew him as a person who was interested in all sorts of people and treated them as if they were important. But was he important to me? We in Stark County, the place where he grew up ought to take his style of relating to people and make it our own. Regardless of who, what they are, or where they live we need to remember that they are people who are our friends. The world is too small for anything less. It make life easier for all of us. Rest in peace, Tom Klepfer, you were my friend.

Created by KKris. Last Modification: Saturday 09 of September, 2006 17:34:27 EDT by KKris.