When you lose a business associate, it is customary to prepare some words of tribute, signifying the departed person's impact on an industry and how he or she will be missed. When you lose a friend or loved one, words are difficult to come by, impossible to ever be enough.
Tom Williams' associates at Stony Hill Management have lost both colleague and friend this week. As editor, I have chosen to let others speak for us instead of force my own inadequate words until I have had time to adjust to the wholly unexpected and unwelcome loss.
Tributes have been arriving by the minute since the news of Tom's passing began to spread on Monday. Rather than choose, we offer them all here. Read them one or two at a time, as quickly or slowly as you may be moved to do and you will see that we his immediate colleagues are not the only ones who have lost both a business partner and a dear friend.Tim Rowan, editor
Dr. Robert Fazzi's note to Fazzi Associates staff:
Good Morning All,
We were notified yesterday that the home care community has lost one ofits most innovative and spirited leaders. Tom Williams was the founder of the Home Care Information Network(HCIN); the web based video service that has really pushed home caretraining to a new level of sophistication. A number of our colleagues- Cindy Campbell, Cindy Krafft, and Rhonda Will - have partnered withTom's company over the years.
For those of you who didn't know him, Tom was an absolute visionary. Hewas always asking how could we do it better and was a person who was notafraid to try to new technologies. What made him such a uniquetrailblazer was his commitment to partner with others for the good ofthe industry.
No one would describe Tom has laid back. He was the kind of person youvalued being around. He laughed easily and was a true evangelist overthings he believed in. He was always excited, always positive andalways willing to share with you his thoughts and try to help out whenhe could. A die-hard Green Bay Packers fan who relished sitting in 20below zero temperatures to support his Packers, he brought that samepassion to home care.
He was a friend to many, a visionary and personwho has made his mark in home care and hospice. He leaves our fieldbetter, stronger and a more positive place because of who he was and all he did.We send our sincere condolences to his family, his close partner TimRowan and to all of the members of his working community. He will besorely missed.
David Merk, Home Health Gold
I was shocked by the news about Tom. I had the chance at several recent trade shows to talk with him a bunch, and it is hard now to think of someone with so much positive energy suddenly being gone. I wish you and the others at Stony Hill the very best in coping with this terrible loss.
Ed Lakin, Lewis, Inc.
I am so sad to hear of this. Tom was a great guy. Home care suffers the loss of one of it's greatest advocates. He will be sorely missed.
Tom and Linda Peth, Thornberry, Ltd.
No words can express what we’re feeling over here in PA. The shock at losing such a great guy at such a young age must be overwhelming for his family as well as it is for those of us that had the pleasure of working with him.
Jason Huffman, former editor of ...home health line
I just got an email with the extremely sad news about Tom. I can't believe it.
It's been quite a few years since I worked with you guys in relation to the Home Care Automation Report -- back when I was writing it. I could not have done anything without the assistance Tom gave me. Tom poured hours of his time into that topic but he never hesitated in helping a newbie such as me get up to speed. He was always an eager source on the telephone and speaker at our conferences. He absolutely tolerated me in a way that few other sources could. He was one of the friendliest, most giving guys you would ever meet.
I also know, because of how often he spoke of them, how much he loved his kids. I am sure there is a great, big hole in more than a few peoples' hearts back in Wisconsin.
In my personal memories of Tom, I recall him as a constant chuckle, looking to get some laughs at all times, something to kid somebody about. I recall the time I had to introduce him before a crowd of about 225-250 people. I was a nervous public speaker then and I flubbed when I introduced him as the "biggest Green Bay Packer fan I know." The word "Packer" did not come out of my mouth. Technically, I think the word I used was "Facker" but Tom would tell that story differently later. Tom smiled at the time, shook his head, and gave me a devilish look that I knew meant this was going to come up again later.
When they talked about one of our recent presidential candidates as a "maverick," I thought of Tom. He was a maverick in the home care industry, challenging some of the largest automation vendors to be honest and the most beloved trade associations to treat its members, including its vendor members, fairly. He was fearless and passionate about his feelings.
Tom also was an entrepreneur. He never stood still on one of his product ideas, but was constantly searching for better innovations, new ways to trim and/or slice the onion. God bless him. I will really miss Tom. I don't think there is another person in the universe like him.
Jason Huffman, Editor in Chief
Food Chemical News
William Deary, CEO, Great Lakes Home Health and Hospice, Jackson, Michigan
Very sad news regarding Tom’s untimely death. Is there a charity or foundation delineated to honor Tom? Our best to all at Stony Hill and to his family.
Scott Hanfling, Viterion-Misys
I am so very sorry and saddened to know that we have lost a friend, a mentor, a Pioneer. Tom was one of those people you get the good fortune of meeting in a business environment, who becomes someone you also want as a friend.
I can still remember being wet behind the ears when I started in this business (around the 1890's) and Tom was there, leading speaking engagements, organizing panels, being the source for the industry as to what to look for, what questions to ask, when evaluating the neophyte industry known as homecare automation.
He will be truly missed. May his spirit continue to look over us and keep us on our toes. Warmest regards and with heartfelt condolences to all of his family.
Helder Conde, Atitude Mídia Digital, Brazil
Dear Colleagues from Stony-Hill,
I just heard the sad, sad news about Thomas Williams. Just wanted to say that I am so very sorry. It was clear when I met you that you guys were friends, much more than only business partners. I'm sure Mr. Thomas' willingness to work and innovate stands strong in each colleague at Stony-Hill and on his family.
Joe Kraus, President, Stratis, Inc.
On behalf of all of us here at Stratis, we send our deepest sympathies to Tom’s family, friends and staff at Stony Hill. I am flooded with fond memories of Tom and will miss him on the trade show floor. He was someone I enjoyed talking to about our families, home care, football and cars. He was a great resource for me personally and for Stratis. I will miss him and pray for him and his family.
Ken Pereira, President, Healthcare Automation, Inc.
I am very very sorry to hear about Tom. It is very sad and I wanted to express my profound sadness to you and Tom's family.If there is any way I can be helpful, please let me know.
Warren Brown, President, Procura and Progresa
I am so sorry to hear this news. If I look back at the past 12 or so years that I have been involved in the business in the USA I can truly say that Tom was instrumental in helping us almost annually. He shared his knowledge unstintingly. He shared his insights without regard to personal remuneration. He exemplified my kind of businessman, building relationships and partnerships as much for the benefit of the industry as for the benefit of his company.
Tonya Nevin, former editor, ...home health line
I’ve heard the sad, shocking, horrible news about Tom. I remember him with fondness in all my years at DecisionHealth, and especially the home health group. I’m no longer running that group here, but I so often think of all the friends and colleagues I made over the years. My prayers are with Tom’s family as we all wrestle to come to terms with this sudden loss.
Brian Thomas, Cerner Corporation
I just heard the sad news about the passing of Tom Williams. Please know that you have my sincere condolences and that Tom's family (including his extended family at Stony Hill) are in my thoughts and prayers. I am sure that this is a great shock and significant loss to you both personally and professionally. It is also a significant loss to the entire homecare community. While Tom will be greatly missed, his many contributions will continue to serve this industry for many years to come.
Phone calls to the office have been non-stop as well. State association executive directors, including Warren Hebert, Sarah Myers, Ellen Caruso, Todd Stallings, Joe Hafkenschiel, Phyllis Wang, Gene Tischer, Joie Glenn and many others have spoken to us first of the loss of a great friend, then a colleague and professional resource. Val Halamandaris, Bill Dombi and Ron Everly of NAHC have joined in the tributes as well, citing Tom's importance to the promotion of home care and hospice technology, along with their personal shock and sadness.
To everyone who has contacted one Stony Hill associate or another, we extend our heartfelt gratitude. Your support has been essential in these early days. Every request to relay your sentiments to Tom's family will be honored. The moment a decision is made by the family regarding their preferences for donations to be made in lieu of flowers, we will post the details here.
As much as anything else, Tom was known as a story-teller. It would be fitting if we were able to continue to gather your stories about him. HCAR would like to hear from anyone with such a memory to share. We will publish the best ones that arrive by Tuesday, January 20. Send your stories to email@example.com