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Chuck_Jodry-VJPL

In Memoriam of Thomas Verne Allensworth

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Among the Irish, a wake was a tradition for saying good-bye at the passing of old friends and family. They celebrate the life of the honored guest and are an opportunity for those attending to reminisce between themselves anecdotes that marked the life of their departed friend. Illuminating the passage into legend by remembering the personal experiences shared with friends and family, an occasion to enjoy a libation and let the memories flow as well, I am sure Tom would approve of a wake in his honor. AVSIM is, after all, his home and we his friends. Join us then and raise a glass to Mr. Thomas Verne Allensworth.

 

We were all taken by surprise by Tom's sudden death. Personally, I never got to say “thank you." There are many volunteers, friends, and community members who worked hard with Tom through the years to advance a project we know as AVSIM Online. Those same individuals must feel much like myself, possessing a very great debt of gratitude. In the two weeks since he passed away, thousands of condolence notices have come in from the four corners of the world—except China of course (more on that later). Looking at the condolences expressed by the community was more than touching, in fact it was revealing. Winston Churchill had a way with words and it was one of his quotes that came to mind as I thought about Tom Allensworth’s contributions,“Never was so much owed by so many to so few."

 

It is only in retrospect that one comes to understand much of what we have come to know as the hobby of flight simulation was first imagined and developed by Tom. Since AVSIM's inception over 15 years ago, a website and an entire industry came of age. This growth was mostly through interaction between the end user and the creative souls who honed their skills by communicating and interacting through the various forums on how to develop and improve the products we enjoy today. Very few are the professional grade developers who did not first start by designing freeware. These same professionals banded together into groups and companies and formed the flight simulation industry, as we know it today.

 

Who was this founding father of simulation? The Tom I knew was not a Saint, nor would Tom have anyone believe thus. Tom could be counted on to exacerbate any clash of wills. What drove Tom’s passion for AVSIM and the hobby we love? I never understood Tom's motivations until he retired—AVSIM was his hobby. There was seemingly nothing he liked to play with more than AVSIM. Many of us will remember when the website was renovated and there was a period of a couple of years beginning in 2011, where we were constantly treated to new elements, formats and artwork. Staff and community members in both public and private often discussed the look and feel of AVSIM. Some ideas worked out wonderfully, although they did take some time to find their final form. However, other ideas were not meant to be. Does anybody remember the new library that was to be launched within the forum environment? Thought not. However, taken as a whole, the training and open communication necessary for implementation of this new library and all the other ideas brought Tom and the AVSIM Staff closer together.

 

We all have our bugbears; Tom’s was spam. He took spamming personally. In retrospect, our Board of Director's email traffic was often buzzing about attacks from various countries—on a few occasions the topics were about individuals who had a bone to pick with AVSIM. Most annoying to Tom was when multiple accounts were being used to riddle the forums with personal drama and private messages with taunts and challenges to do something about it. To never see a battle won by the miscreants, Tom needed to sift through the IP addresses of all new members. As a result of the actions of a few bad sticks, we now have wait periods and other software to keep AVSIM spam free. However, for years that was a mission, often thankless. Until last week the entire country of China could not sign in because it was from China the majority of spam attacks were delivered upon AVSIM .

 

Where was the community going before Tom's premature departure is a question being asked now that he isn't here any longer to guide us. AVSIM's intention was to make room for all of the platforms for flight simulation and promote their releases and practices. Each simulator is created by man and thus equally flawed. It's our mission as a community to find the issues, offer the solutions, provide a place where dialog can broach distances in an instant and provide a place where ideas can flourish in common cause. It's a noble endeavor and required years of effort to achieve what Tom accomplished by creating AVSIM.

 

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning," –Winston Churchill

 

It's up to us now; Tom was AVSIM in more ways than we can appreciate. One truly discovers the depth of Tom's commitment by seeing and knowing AVSIM for what we have done, who we are, and where we as the community are going. Keeping AVSIM going will take a community. It is our earnest hope his legacy can continue. It isn't going to be easy and we are counting on the membership to be more involved than ever.

 

In closing and maintaining the tradition of a wake, it would be appreciated if the members would consider posting an anecdote or reminiscence that illuminates the man himself. Tom left a good many emails and even more memories, he left no one indifferent to himself or his hobby, AVSIM.

 

C. Jodry
Managing Editor
Avsim.com


 

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Being Irish myself, I can see where you are coming from.

I'll drink a toast to dear Tom later on tonight.

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Goodbye Tom,

 

Tom could be hilarious in his irony. His most famous self-claim is that he did not suffer fools gladly.

 

One time he wrote me about a certain irritating person, and just what I should do with him on behalf of the management. I waited for awhile before acting, (something I learned the hard way), and sure enough, the next day a much more appropriate response arrived.

 

Over-the-top reaction to irritation was all part of Tom's style and charm.

 

Thank you Tom for your service to this community, and inviting me to lend you a hand for awhile. It was an honor. I shall long cherish the personal friendship and many moments of tongue-in-cheek laughter we enjoyed over the years. It was never boring, that's for sure! :blink:

 

Farewell Sir. I will miss you.

 

Kindest regards,

 

Stephen Wilcox

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  I say goodby to a friend I did not know, but I feel I did. I always felt that this site would have good info in the hobby I have enjoyed for so long.

I hope the site will continual for a long time to come.

Bob Bazley

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A brilliant post Chuck, well said  

"Here, Here...and a glass is lifted to Tom's memory and community service. Here, here...".

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My first contact with Tom was after I responded to another user's far right wing position (politically speaking) on a "Hangar Chat" matter.   I was pretty uncomprimising in that response, but (somewhat egotistically perhaps) felt I had the moral high ground.

 

I got a stern (but informal) PM from Tom that simply said "That was out of order. Do not do that again".

 

I was disappointed at that point, however the next day I submitted a product review to AVSIM's user review section.  I'd put quite a lot of work into it.   I then got a notification to say that someone had commented on the review.  I went over to the review to see that it was Tom who had commented on the review and his comment read "Great review. Thanks for doing this!!".

 

It immediately restored my faith - I no longer felt that Tom was ticking me off on the first matter perhaps because of his own political views or outlook, and realized simply that it was a case of no hard feelings and nothing personal but just "don't cross the line".

 

I love Chuck's honesty of what we all knew and saw ;  Tom really didn't suffer 'fools' well and could occasionally blast off into an over-reatction or disproportionate response. But it was always propped up with a good intention to protect AVSIM and it's membership.

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Being slightly older than Tom, also with an early naval air service (Winnie was at one stage my virtual Commanding Officer, with a following humanitarian funding career in over 200 countries, much of The Janitor is in my own background. Later in life the Irish Government gave me Irish Citizenship - having never been to Ireland - because I gave to many and never asked for anything in return.

 

Much of what I have seen and been able to achieve, through the AVSIM website, I have profited in my flight simulation environment and experience. Indirectly this has come from the Man we now have a Wake for. Day-to-day we take for granted what the Internet and social media presents us, but without such technology AVSIM and flight simulation would not have even been a twinkle in Tom's eye. What Tom has done must never be taken for granted, even if we have not communicated with him directly. However, indirectly we all can cherish from his hard work and determination and, therefore, I lift a silver chalice and give three cheers and a toast to Tom.

 

Hip Hip Hip Hurrah...

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I worked as a volunteer at AVSIM from 1998 to 2004.  I eventually made it to BOD and worked on the technical/server side of things up until I started PhD program (so I left the BOD) and also (appropriately) yielded my technical leadership to the much more talented Matt Johnson.  I agree with Mr. Jodry's reflections on Tom, but I would say that, as a service, AVSIM was very timely as a presence in shaping the hobby, particularly int he period from FS98 through FSX and the cessation of the ACES team.  I was among the first volunteers that Tom entrusted to visit the server collocation facilities in the greater DC area and along with a contractor we used at the time (Scott I think), I learned quite a good deal about the mechanics of running AVSIM from hardware and infrastructure side of things.  I got my start by showing up at a early "meet up" a hotel near KIAD (which I am pretty sure was in 1998) and bluntly approached Tom indicating that "I'd like to do more." That led me on a 5-year journey of ups and downs (mostly ups) in service to AVSIM.  In work with him during that period, Tom provided a vision and a spine upon which the volunteers at AVSIM could flourish.  Having watched several people pass in the last year (in most cases, suddenly and unexpectedly), this gives great pause in terms of what is important.

 

However, while I could go into pros and cons, it is safe to say that personally, Tom shared with me some skills and responsibilities which aided in my own development and Tom also showed what strong vision and will can achieve.  "Janitor" is simply a deflection and a mild self-deprecation which gave the space to let others' contributions be known.  I hope few doubt that Tom was THE Admiral in the fleet, but I would say that he would listen to and consider those on the team.  In all cases, Tom called 'em as he saw 'em (in my opinion, both rightly or wrongly), but he cared for and nurtured a profoundly important community at a time when the hobby about which it is centered was growing and changing.  In the annals or "hall of fame" of the history of our community - Tom has a rightful place.

 

Too soon, much too soon to have left us.

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