I never met Tom Fitzgerald. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know his last name until this past week. But Big Tom was a part of my everyday life. I woke up to his laugh every morning and started my day listening to his banter or laughing at his antics. Often my husband would call me after I got to work in the morning to tell me something that he heard Big Tom say that had him in stitches driving to work in the morning. My husband and I always marveled at how much he worked, it seemed like he was always on the air. My kids knew Big Tom too. As a matter of fact, my daughter texted my husband when she heard the news because she new how much her dad loved him and was worried that he would be shocked and saddened.
I felt like I knew Big Tom and that we would get along quite well if we were ever lucky enough to cross paths. I knew that he loved his job, that he respected people and really enjoyed all the amazing opportunities that he was fortunate to have experienced as a result of his career. I knew that his daughter Sophie was the light of his life and I always enjoyed hearing his voice when she called in to request a song on Saturday in the Shed.
He was game for anything and with Mike and Candice there to egg him along, you were never quite sure what he was going to do next. But often, his antics were done with a philanthropic purpose and Daffodil House and Ronald McDonald House were just a couple of the charities that benefited from his generous spirit. Big Tom never forgot where he came from and was a proud representative of both Bell Island and Newfoundland.
It is a testament to his impact that KRock 97.5 has pretty well run on autopilot all week since the news of his passing was announced on Wednesday morning. There is a huge void that will not be easily filled. The outpouring of grief has been amazing and I equate the loss of Big Tom to the many larger than life figures who have been snatched from us before their time. We are lucky to have had him as a part of our lives for as long as we did but feel cheated that he didn’t get to finish what he started.
Big Tom will be laid to rest tomorrow on Bell Island. My thoughts, prayers and heartfelt sympathy are with his family and friends.