In one way or another, we will all miss Tom Roeser, who died on Sunday at the age of 82.
Some of us will miss him as a longtime friend. Others will miss him as a prolific and enormously informed political analyst—as evidenced in his many columns in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Wanderer, in his books, and on his popular Sunday evening talk show. Others will miss the man who was chairman of nearly everything.
Those who were not privy to his great intellect and humor will miss the wisdom Tom would have brought into their lives.
Fond Memories of Tom
I spoke with Tom just a week ago, and he assured me that heart failure would not slow him down. That was Tom, working up to the last minute of his life trying to straighten out a world gone mad.
Tom knew everything about politics and theology. And he knew nearly everyone. He spent an afternoon with Ronald Reagan, who told how he got the part of George Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American, with the help of Pat O’Brien. He was a fellow at Harvard, taught at Loyola, chaired a dozen or more committees, and was a prolific reader.
He was also a pro-life activist. At one of our pickets back in the 70’s, Tom held a large sign that quoted Scripture referring to the unborn child, but which fit Tom also: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139: 14). And so he was.
In my last conversation with Tom I asked him point blank how he knew so much political history and could apply most of it to modern politics. He said he read a lot and then joked, “If I can’t find it I make it up.” He never had to “make it up.” He just found it and applied it. In a very real way, Tom Roeser was a modern day Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Jefferson and G.K. Chesterton, all in one big dynamic body.
Yes, we will all miss the wisdom, wit and wonderment of Tom Roeser. But at least he had the good sense to hang around for 82 years—the 82 years when he was needed most. But I wish it could have been longer. We still need him.