Richard F. Tom – Hinesburg

Richard Tom went out for his final bike ride on April 26, 2015, at the age of 47. Richard was born on March 20, 1968, in Huntsville, Ala., where he was a very active member of the community from a young age. Richard started as a Boy Scout and finished as an Eagle Scout. Richard attended Huntsville High School where he was a member of the Cross Country team and even dabbled in fencing. After graduation, he attended The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Richard’s major was English Literature, which explains his love of all books, and he minored in Studio Arts with an emphasis on photography, which explains why he was always behind the camera. Richard’s intense love of cycling was evident throughout his life. From 1987 to 1992, he worked for the Outdoor Omnibus (a local bike shop) in Alabama. In 1993, Richard’s love of bikes and travel brought him to Vermont Bicycle Touring (VBT) as a tour leader. He guided trips throughout the U.S., Hawaii, and Europe. Richard was also a mechanic for VBT, both here in Vermont as well as France. One of his favorite rides was in Burgundy, France – through the hills and vineyards with his friends. After 10 years with VBT, Richard then became a Regional Trip Manager for Country Walkers. Richard was responsible for designing trips to 12 different locations worldwide. In 2004, Richard became the Assistant Retail Manager for Earl’s Cyclery. Over the next 10 years, this job is what allowed Richard to touch so many lives locally. Whether a customer was coming in to get fitted for a top of the line bike or to get their first set of training wheels, Richard made sure everyone he met left with the perfect fit. Recently, Richard had the opportunity to return to VBT as a full-time employee. His world had come full circle. In the ‘90s, Richard’s passion for biking took him on two special trips. The first was a three month solo tour of New Zealand and Hawaii. A few years later, he rode his bike from Seattle, Wash., to Washington, D.C., as part of the Bike Aid transcontinental ride to promote cycling. Along the way, Richard took part in community service projects in various towns and cities. Both of these trips highlight Richard’s love of seeing the world as a cyclist, as well as taking care of the people he met along the way. Richard was known for his gift of giving; whether it was time, advice, bike parts, or simply an email to follow up with a little more information about a topic, Richard took care of the ones he loved. As much as he loved cycling, he also loved connecting with people. He put his friends and family first and had no limits to how much he would he would give. Everyone who came in contact with Richard was drawn to him. Maybe it was his relaxed persona and his personal mantra of “No Worries.” Maybe it was his smile. But, maybe it was just the fact that his true nature of being a kind, compassionate and all-around amazing person drew people in and forever linked Richard and everyone he met. Richard is survived by his parents, H.C. and Peggy Tom of Huntsville, Ala.; uncle, H.K. Tom; several cousins, including Phyllis Ibara and her family of Honolulu, Hawaii; as well as the loves of his life, Annie and Sammy. Richard also left behind an immeasurable number of friends spanning the globe. Those friends left behind in Alabama and Vermont knew him from beginning to end. The loss of Richard Tom is immense and one that is felt deeply by everyone who loved him. A celebration of Richard’s life will be held on Sunday, May 31, 2015, from 4 to 7:30pm at Sleepy Hollow Inn Ski and Bike Center in Huntington. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Richard Tom Foundation c/o John Williams, Executive Director, 1645 Main St., Fairfax, VT 05454. This foundation will support bike safety and adventures through cycling.