Tom Roeser was perhaps Thomas to his parents and teachers and those who never met him. But for those of us fortunate enough to have glided within his ambit—even for a few moments—he was “Tom.”
There was no pretense about him. There was no standing at one or two removes from him. He was warm and friendly to all. His smile embraced a room, and his glance engaged everyone whose eye he caught.
It was fun to talk to Tom—not only because of what he knew, but because of the compelling way that he put it all together. He could weave a hundred strands of history and personality and pull them into a narrative that not only fascinated but helped his companions and his readers make sense of what otherwise would have been silly and senseless modernity.
And my goodness, Tom knew a lot. His memory about history and even about the remote years of his own life was so huge and detailed that, in the face of such erudition, one felt distinctly honored that he even listened to what others had to say.
I suspect Tom avoided the term conservative because he knew that the word did not convey the truth of the matter. He knew that the most conservative of people were often the most left wing and unwilling to convert to truth—the most intransigent and the most unyielding on any point, be it politics or religion. Tom knew that conservative was merely an adjective describing...