FlyerTalk member tom911 posted a link to a news article in a new discussion in the Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan forum on Thursday, July 7, 2021 at 10:53 in the evening Eastern Daylight Time pertaining to executives of the airline taking shifts to sling heavy bags at an airport — and that became the last time he posted on FlyerTalk.
In Memoriam: tom911
At 66 years of age, tom911 — whose real name is Tom Griffin — passed away in his sleep on either Friday, August 6, 2021 or Saturday, August 7, 2021; and this discussion on FlyerTalk is dedicated to his memory. The cause of death had not been publicly disclosed at the time this article was written.
Having first joined FlyerTalk as a member on Monday, June 19, 2000, tom911 posted content a total of 31,845 times and participated in a variety of forums. His last activity on FlyerTalk was on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 10:40 in the evening Eastern Daylight Time.
I’m having a really hard time dealing with tom911’s sudden death. We’ve known each other for 18 years, first as virtual FT friends (hey, doesn’t that sound familiar everyone?! ) & then over the years we became really good buddies in real life. Tom & I would talk at least 3 times a week & email almost daily. I counted him as one of my dearest friends. I literally just talked to him a few days ago. I emailed him & didn’t hear back, which I thought was strange. So I called last night & got voice mail. Thought he was out to dinner. Then my cell rang & I saw it was Tom & I said Hi Tom. A female voice said this is Mary, his sister. Tom is dead. I was stunned, shocked, how could he be. I just talked to him not that long ago. He just sent me a picture from his 5-mile walk (lordy, lordy, that man could walk!). She said he went in his sleep. Natalie’s father, Jim (Tom’s best friend) also grew concerned when Tom didn’t respond to calls/texts/emails & went to his house & found him.
dhammer & others, I will talk to his sister again either later today or tomorrow. When I spoke with her it had all just happened, so no info on funeral arrangements, where to send cards, etc. I’ll get that info & post. I had Mary’s permission to post on FT that Tom had died, and sandiego1k was kind enough to do so because I basically lost it yesterday after hearing the news.
As you all know Tom was a great guy & always willing to help others, whether it be w/ travel info or other items (the saga of my Android phone is a classic). His trip reports with pictures were great/so detailed that you literally felt you were there with him. As jailer said I’m so glad Tom retired early & was able to travel as much as he did, both in the US & around the world. When I spoke with him earlier this week he had just booked 5 flights in February to get started on renewing his status and we chatted a week or so ago about him attending OzFest ’22 if things were a tad more normal. And as mentioned by others, when I first met him he would stay at youth hostels while the rest of us scattered to our various hotel chains. But then he came to the dark side & started staying at chain hotels, getting mid or top tier status, and the rest, as they say, is history.
My first encounter with Tom was many years ago. I was flying to San Francisco area to attend a wedding, but also visiting friends in the area & had gotten a rental car. Color me surprised/panicked when I realized I had left my driver’s license at home. Pre 9/11 I was still able to get through airport security w/o a DL but no way I could rent a car w/o one. I posted on FT CommunityBuzz asking if there was anyone in the area who had suggestions on how I could get to where I needed to be. tom911 saw my post & said I live about an hour away. If you can wait I can drive to the airport, pick you up & then drive you the 45 minutes to your destination. This, from someone I’d never met, but who exemplified what being a FTer is all about. As it turned out I was able to reach a relative so Tom didn’t have to do all the driving, but I appreciated his willingness to do so. And a friendship was born….
Any other information pertaining to tom911 — such as funeral services — had been unavailable to me at the time this article was written. I intend to edit and amend this article if any new information becomes available.