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[04APR15] Today we lost a dear friend...

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Early this morning I was greeted by the news that we had lost our dear friend and AVSim founder, Tom Allensworth.


I have spent today thus far sitting on my hands and conversing with a few of the AVSim staff- in order to give them a chance to post an official announcement.  During this time, I tried to think through what I should say- and surprisingly for me, I am coming up quite empty handed.


Most of you are already aware that I have known Tom the better part of two decades, and that I counted him as a good friend, confidant and in some cases a co-conspirator.  So perhaps I should share with you a few things that might actually surprise you about Tom:


When Tom first reached out and offered to host a forum "About PMDG" I declined.  I declined a number of times, in fact, because I thought Tom was trying to set up a case of "gotcha journalism" designed to point out to the world that PMDG products weren't any good.  He eventually explained to me what the point of the forum would be- and he also convinced me that it would be better if I participated.  That sounded ominous, so I agreed.  The rest, as they say, is history.


Contrary to some of the really silly rumors out there:  Tom and I disagreed on more than we agreed.  In fact, we had some epic disagreements take place behind the scenes.  What I liked about disagreeing with Tom was that I never had to wonder if he was telling me how he truly felt.  Tom didn't mince words, but I also never had to worry that I would hurt his feelings by telling him what I really thought in reply.  In disagreeing with Tom, none of it was ever personal and none of it ever diminished the value I placed in his friendship and his opinion.  Remember this:  The strength of your friendships should always exceed the strength of your disagreements- and your disagreements should be honest and unlimited.  This is how you know a true friend.


Tom really gave a damn about this community and it's future.  Far more so than any of you could possibly have understood.  Sure, he had a reputation for being a tough-as-nails moderator with a very low tolerance for antagonists, (One of the many character traits I always loved in him!) but at his core Tom felt a very strong sense of responsibility to make sure that this community grew and thrived.  He went toe-to-toe with Microsoft a number of times, he would call out a popular developer for treating customers poorly, and he worked tirelessly behind the scenes to use his influence to connect people and organizations so that the community would benefit from opportunities that otherwise might never have taken place.


Tom was very much a man for whom "your word" mattered.  Tom and I were involved in a handful of engagements in which it became important for us to share information and we always did so on a handshake and an understanding that one or the other could request that information not be shared- and it would go no further.  Such discussions involved anything from rooting a crook out of our community, to locating and trapping an individual who was a source of significant piracy, to building a coalition of like-minded partners that came damned close to purchasing the Flight Simulator franchise from Microsoft in 2014.  Such engagements always began with an email from Tom that would read, "I have something I want to talk to you about, but it needs to fall under our mutual agreement."  From that moment forward, anything could be discussed- and you could trust him to give his candid opinion, without mincing words or sharing your response with others- and those conversations were almost always the start of a fascinating adventure.


So you can imagine my sadness when, a short month ago I received an email from Tom that started, "This falls under our mutual understanding:  I am dying."


What followed was three paragraphs of candid, unemotional appraisal of his diagnosis, with a request for help in preparing for the inevitable.  I spent more time on the phone with Tom in the past month than in the entire time previous- and I dare say I got to know a side of him that I might not otherwise have met.  Today I am at once happy that his disease took him quickly so that he did not languish in distress, but I am saddened that I no longer have that lifeline against whom I can bounce ideas and solicit opinion.


I am going to miss Tom's dry humor in this forum- and his "I'm going to keep you humble" approach to poking fun of my flying skills based solely on one flight in which he was a passenger at my airline.  While I like to claim that Tom took liberty with the truth, one cannot argue that he enjoyed a particular glee in providing me with good-natured ribbing over our inop yaw damper on that flight.  A story in which the swings of the tail grew wilder as the retelling grew longer.  His most recent recounting of that story took, in fact, twice as long as the flight from KIAD to KCHO itself...


I will always regret that in our busy schedules we never did succeed in getting him a ride on the DC-3.  In retrospect maybe that is a good thing, since a DC-3 doesn't come with a yaw damper.  The last thing any right-minded person should do is to give Tom Allensworth a basket full of fodder to use against you in this forum- because he would do so with skill, with grace and with abundance.


Today is a sad day, and I regret that so many of you never had a chance to really know Tom in person.  I can think of no other way to describe today, other than to say that this community has just lost one of it's parents.


Best wishes and blue skies, Old Friend.





Robert S. Randazzo coolcap.gif


You can find us at:  http://forum.pmdg.com

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R.I.P. Tom,  This community will surely miss you.  My prayers are with his family at this time of grief.

Harry Nelson

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RIP Tom. You will always be remembered at AVSIM.

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R.I.P :(



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Oh no. Terrible news. Rest in Peace, Tom.


As Da Vinci said:


For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

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Guest ~Craig~

Great words Robert, that really gave us a taste of the man that Tom was, that we couldn't see on an internet forum. Tom sounds like one of lifes true adventurers. Unapologetic and uncompromising but made of integrity and courage.


RIP and blue skies Mr Allensworth.

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Eloquently put Robert; R.I.P Tom; God speed and blue skies.

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Rest in peace Tom. My condolences to his friends and family.


Alexander Marx

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Thanks Robert for that.. It was  a good read about Tom.


Beta tester for SIMStarter 

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I regret that I did not have a chance to meet him but that does not diminish the sadness that I feel for our loss and that of his family and close friends.  Having just lost a close cousin of only 52 years, I am still pained by the deadliness of this disease. Thank you Robert for sharing a few words about his character and contributions to our community.


Clear skies and tail winds Tom.

Dan Downs KCRP

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