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Railroaders' Nostalgia > My friend Tom

Date: 03/23/23 03:19
My friend Tom
Author: santafe199

I joined TO.com in March of 2011 and by the middle of April started regular posting. A railfan I had never met before noticed this “new kid on the block”, who lived only 2½ hours to the south. More to the point this veteran railfan & TO member from deep in the heart of Nebraska Cornhusker territory started watching the posted threads of this veteran railfan from deep in the heart of Kansas State Wildcat territory. Neither one of us could know this at the time, but it was the start of a beautiful friendship. Sorta like Rick & Louie in the finale of Casablanca, only without walking away into a rainy night scene.

By 2013, Tom Jurgens had made his presence known to me. I don’t remember any specifics because this was before I started copy-pasting & filing most of my PM communications. But we seemed to hit it off pretty well. Even if we were ancient arch-rivals from the Big-8 & Big-12 days! In July Tom and his friend Ken would be making a trip from Lincoln down to Topeka. He wanted to know if I was interested in getting together with them. “Absolutely-you bet!” was my answer. I ended up showing them a few of the high spots around Kansas’ Capital City. To nobody’s great surprise Tom & I got on famously. And it wasn’t long before we started doing some semi-regular chasing together, mostly on his Husker Nation turf. In my first visit to his house in Lincoln he was displaying a huge red Cornhusker flag. Being an incurable smartass I just couldn’t help but give Tom a hard time. And he loved it! Not long after that the “Jurgens Motel” opened for business and I had a place to stay virtually any time I wanted to come up from Manhattan. A Cornhusker & a Wildcat had struck up an indelible friendship. Almost like brothers...

My friend Tom Jurgens passed away yesterday morning at 0300. Earlier in the week I knew he had gone into the hospital with Covid, which had grown into pneumonia. He got past the pneumonia, but that nasty virus just kept hanging around. In a phone chat a few days ago he sounded hoarse and tired, which I took as a bad sign. I wanted to call him again, but didn’t want to burden him. Turns out I would never talk to him again. Now I am rippling with regret. I think he knew, but I never really got the chance to tell him how much his friendship meant to me. Tom Jurgens was truly a class act...

1. I had been to Plattsmouth, NE twice before. Once in 1977 ( Plattsmouth in Z scale! (trainorders.com) ) & again in 1983 ( My 2nd visit to Plattsmouth (trainorders.com) ). Tom, who is sitting down in this view, took me up there for my third time. The BNSF was still constructing the 2nd main track over the Missouri River and through the cut. We had a blast!
Photo date: September 23, 2013.

2. A little out of chronological order, but here’s Tom during our first meeting in Topeka, KS. We were shooting on BNSF ground just off 4th Street.
Photo date: July 12, 2013.

3. I met Tom again in Nebraska during 2017’s total eclipse of the sun. We opted to shoot a passenger special earlier that morning and didn’t quite make it onto “totality” territory. Here we are at Schuyler, NE marveling at the darkness we did get.
Photo date: August 21, 2017.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/23 03:24 by santafe199.

Date: 03/23/23 03:20
Re: My friend Tom
Author: santafe199

The only other time Tom ventured down onto my corner of the Monopoly board was during our first Smoky Valley Shoot-out at Abilene. During the course of the day a bunch of us were able to chase & shoot a CSXT-led unit grainer...

4. Here’s a great shot of Tom over at Navarre, KS. That grain train is on the way, and I thought I was catching Tom unaware. But he glanced my way at the last second! Now this is my favorite shot of him...
Photo date: October 4, 2014.

Thanks for your friendship, Tom. You are already greatly missed!
Willie Wildcat

Date: 03/23/23 04:43
Re: My friend Tom
Author: atsfer

So sorry to hear about Tom, I lost a friend last year to Covid who was also fighting lymphoma so his immune system was weak.  Tomorrow belongs to nobody, I have regrets too not talking to people when I had the chance...just like some aspects of the RR they can vanish without much warning.

Date: 03/23/23 10:25
Re: My friend Tom
Author: Ritzville

A great testament to your friend Tom.


Date: 03/23/23 11:34
Re: My friend Tom
Author: spider1319

I am sorry to hear your friends passing.You can be proud of the fine job that you did of the tribute posted.Plus the pictures were outstanding.Bill Webb

Date: 03/23/23 19:53
Re: My friend Tom
Author: Trainhand

Sorry to hear oof a good friend's passing. You can't have too many good friends, and you can't quickly make old ones.My sympathies to you and his family in you loss.


Date: 03/24/23 06:47
Re: My friend Tom
Author: santafe199

Late last night I received a PM that really should have been posted publicly for TO's readers instead of just me:

"Another lost railfan with camera only saddens all of us railfans."

I couldn't agree more...

Date: 03/24/23 12:56
Re: My friend Tom
Author: wabash2800

Sorry to hear about your loss of a friend.

Victor Baird

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/23 18:37 by wabash2800.

Date: 03/24/23 17:18
Re: My friend Tom
Author: Locoinsp

Sorry for the loss of your friend.

Date: 03/24/23 22:03
Re: My friend Tom
Author: IC1038west

Great tribute to a TO member that I enjoyed reading his input whenever he posted. Your image #2 with the GM products and the 327 on the Monte Carlo tag just does it! A versatile small block engine, an enjoyable Chevy model, and an EMD cab design that would have lasted a career if it was CN equipped. Thank you TWJ for a great journey.

Date: 04/02/23 21:38
Re: My friend Tom
Author: DJ-12

Very sorry to hear about your friend. Deepest condolences from here in PA.

Posted from iPhone

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