: I'm doing my DeLisle thing in cross-posting this across several websites.
: "LordFrench" was Tom's internet handle, one which he took from an old
: Irish folk song a About a barbarous and murderous 17th century noble. A perfect
: choice for Tom, who was an original Bloodliner as well.
: Tom DeLisle has died, and this is one of those passings that is a deep cut to the
: heart of all of us who knew and loved him, of course, but also across an
: impressively wide variety of professional fields as well.
: Tom was one of the early "media guys" in mass communications in the U.S.,
: someone who understood the idea of "integrated platforms" before that
: became a term in graduate MBA programs. A lifelong and proud Michigander, Tom was a
: print journalist, a TV producer, an occasional on-air radio personality, a record
: producer, the writer of the authorized biography of NHL legend Gordie Howe, a
: production adviser for the pop-rock band Tony Orlando and Dawn in their heyday, a
: gadfly and gadabout, a man by turns prickly and impatient and warm and
: compassionate, and one of the best MCs I have ever seen, a guy who could set a room
: a-roar with laughter at his quips, his anecdotes, and his usually off-the-cuff
: interplay with celebrities and guests.
: Most of my FB friends who knew Tom knew him as I did, through many or all of the
: Kingston Trio Fantasy Camps in Scottsdale AZ between 2000 (his first year as the MC
: at the initial camp) and 2014 (his last). Tom had been a close friend of former KT
: stalwart and long-term singer-songwriter John Stewart for decades, and when John
: somewhat reluctantly agreed to this FC project in 2000 at the urging of his friends
: Michelle Stevens, Paul Rybolt, Art Faller and more, Stewart gauged correctly and
: with a great performer's instinct that the whole idea - amateur baby boomer
: performers stepping on stage to sing with each other and some professionals as well
: - just wouldn't fly if he didn't have an incandescent stage personality to anchor
: the shows and keep the audience, which grew steadily year by year for the event,
: engaged and entertained.
: Stewart turned to his friend, boon companion, and fellow off-beat humorist Tom
: DeLisle to fill that role, and for my money no other single decision was as critical
: as that one to the expanding success of the venture, which when the final curtain
: came down on the event last August was attracting between 200 and 300 people
: annualyl to the Valley of the Sun in August (think about that for a moment). Tom was
: the leaven in the bread, the guy who knew everything about the Trio and John Stewart
: and peppered his stage presentation with personal stories, obscure facts, and verbal
: jabs that hit their marks and that which while barbed were never intended to
: belittle or injure.
: Tom and I had an ongoing quip battle (which he usually won) that focused on his
: affinity for the Michigan Wolverines football team and mine for my Notre Dame
: Fighting Irish. The schools played almost annually in those days, and our yearly bet
: was a bottle of Guinness bought by the fan of the losing team for the fan of the
: winner. Tom loved to win, but when he did it meant simply that we got to sit
: together for a bit and rehash the prior year's game. Tom loved sports - especially
: Detroit and Michigan sports - as much as he loved music.
: The world is a bit of a colder place today because of Tom's departure and a bit less
: funny. Rest in peace, my friend, and keep 'em laughing wherever you are.
: And with an appropriately DeLisle-ish closing, I will simply add that somewhere in
: the world today, Tony Orlando is breathing a deep sigh of relief.