Few, if any, have touched community as deeply as McNair

Thank you for the thoughtful, well written article about the many accomplishments of Tom McNair that ran in the July 14 issue of the Star News. Few, if any, have touched this community as deeply as did Tom.

I have had the honor of knowing, and calling Tom my friend, for literally my entire life. I also had the pleasure of working with Tom as a banker for many years. It is not possible to distill into a few words what a remarkable person Tom was, or the many ways he has made all of our lives better. Simply put, Tom was perhaps the most caring, decent, and talented person most of us will ever know.

From my earliest childhood memories until my last meeting with Tom just a few weeks ago, he was a source of laughter, compassion, dedication, service, and integrity. With his quick wit, caring nature, and boundless energy, Tom made every memory a special one. I cannot count the times Tom made me laugh, as he played a gentle joke or found humor in a situation where I did not immediately see it. Neither can I count the times Tom made me think, really think, as we discussed some deep matter.

Tom spoke often of his love and respect for his wife, Mary, and his two sons, Adam and Andy. I have never known a man more proud of his family, or more dedicated to them.

As a banker for nearly 35 years Tom employed a rare combination of business savvy, creativity, and compassion, to make a positive impact for his customers, and at the same time leave a deep and lasting mark on all of his coworkers’ lives. Tom’s career in business has been pivotal as Elk River developed from a small town to the larger community we are today. The contributions Tom has made to the Elk River area’s business community could fill a book.

As I remember Tom it is of course with a deep sorrow at his passing, but much stronger and enduring is a sense of gratitude for having been granted the honor of knowing Tom. I am a far better person for having had Tom in my life, and I shall never forget the lessons learned from that friendship. To Tom’s parents, wife and sons I offer my deepest condolences as well as my enduring thanks for sharing Tom with me and my family. I promise you that his memory shall always be cherished.

For those of you who knew Tom I am certain that you share my feelings about him, and I know that he has touched you in much the same way as he touched me. For those in the community who did not know Tom, I invite you to simply look around the Elk River area. You cannot see a business that he did not impact in some way, a community project he failed to be a part of, or a natural resource he did not protect. Most of all you will see a community of people made better, stronger, and more compassionate because of his life. That is Tom McNair’s legacy, and we must never forget. We shall not know another like him. — John Houlton, Elk River