English poet William Cowper once said, “Patriots are grown too shrewd to be sincere, and we too wise to trust them.” That is the complete opposite of what Tom Tigue personified. We lost a patriot in the truest sense of the meaning on Monday, Feb. 1 when Tom died at the age of 70.
Tom’s obituary starts by stating he was a former state representative and a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was also a former school director at Pittston Area. That’s a lot of living and serving in 70 years.
There may be people more qualified than I to write about Tom, despite the years I knew him. The people who surrounded Tom daily, those who worked with him, served with him and lived with him, were fortunate to have him in their lives. It’s like one became a better person simply by knowing him.
Tom battled many things in his life – the enemy in Vietnam, school board decisions, policies in the House of Representatives – but cancer is the one battle he couldn’t defeat. He was a fighter and tried hard to battle his final foe. When his cherished wife Dianne passed away unexpectedly last year, Tom lost some steam but he never quit.
I never heard Tom complain about his cancer or symptoms from the disease with the exception of his runny nose. Apparently, chemotherapy had taken a toll on his nasal passages enough to make his nose run quite a bit. Of all the things for which he could have apologized, it was the runny nose he found most annoying.
If someone asked Tom what his biggest accomplishments in life were, it wouldn’t be receiving the Silver Star in Vietnam or the 26 years he served in the state House. It would have been his family.
He was a devoted husband to Dianne, a loving father to Tom Jr., Tracy, Kristin and Colleen and the biggest fan and supporter to his grandchildren: Eastin, Madison, Taryn and Ashton Ashby; Trevor and Kendall Tigue; Rowan Lazevnick; and Brynn and Paige DeFrank. He had to be the coolest father-in-law to Andy Ashby, Chris Lazevnick and Steve Frank.
Many people besides me regarded Tom in the highest esteem. When I heard of his passing, I immediately sent a text message to his predecessor, state Rep. Michael Carroll. Tom was a great mentor, friend and confidante to Michael. No doubt Michael leaned on Tom for his wisdom and guidance.
The second person I texted was John Adonizio. John is currently sitting on the Pittston Area School Board and really looked up to Tom. Over the past year or so, John has been the driving force behind honoring Tom at Pittston Area. A future park is in the works at the Primary Center in Hughestown where Col. Tom will be honored. In a ceremony last Veterans Day, the flagpole was dedicated in Tom’s name.
I saw Tom just a few short weeks ago at a Pittston Area girls basketball game where he watched his granddaughter Taryn play. I could tell he was tired and weak and in pain, but he still had a smile on his face and was proud as ever of Taryn.
I wish Tom were around for many more years; I would have loved to have picked his brain on so many subjects. Rest easy next to your beloved wife, my friend. You have served your family, friends and constituents well.
Feature film debut
If you’re interested in seeing the upcoming movie, “How to be Single” featuring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for local actress and Pittston Area student Aly Tricarico. Aly plays Dakota Johnson’s teen doppelganger.
The daughter of Drs. Lisa and James Tricarico, of Yatesville, Aly is an aspiring actress who has already done modeling, acted in commercials, film shorts and now a feature film.
Quote of the week
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” – Walter Bagehot, British political analyst.
Thought of the week
“Wisdom is meaningless until your own experience has given it meaning and there is wisdom in the selection of wisdom.” – Bergen Evans, American educator.
“Comment is free but facts are sacred.” – Charles Prestwich Scott, British journalist.
Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.