Tom Fish, 27, of Gold Hill, Ore., died at Providence Hospital in Medford, Ore., on April 21, 2009, with his parents at his side. Tom was born Dec. 16, 1981, in Ashland, Ore., to Peter and Jan Fish, and lived with them in Gold Hill for much of his life. He went to elementary and middle school there, and attended St. Mary's High School from 8th grade until his graduation in 2000.
He attended Santa Barbara City College, San Francisco State, Expression College of Digital Arts (Emeryville, Calif.), and most recently Southern Oregon University, where he was majoring in Spanish with a music minor.
The keynote of his short life was passion. Whatever he did, he gave himself to it heart and soul. He was a free spirit, who tried to live each day as if it were his last.
There were two sides to his nature: the meticulous perfectionist and the openhearted, emotional artist. Both of these found expression in his two great passions: skateboarding and music.
To understand Tom, you had to appreciate that skating was an art form as subtle and difficult as playing a violin concerto, with the potential for serious injury awaiting any lapse in concentration or technique. He would cheerfully spend hours mastering a single move, and his natural impatience would give way to determination to get it right and to land it well.
Tom took up the bass guitar when he was 12, and that was what he usually played in bands, but he went on to many others, including electric and acoustic guitar, ukulele, mandolin, keyboard, and drums. He loved all kinds of music, but in recent years he was gradually finding his way toward a music of his own, in which his voice and acoustic guitar became a single instrument, and every note came from the depths of his being (http://www.myspace.com/tomfishmusic). At the time of his death, he was making plans to join his friend Mako Miyamoto to start a band in Portland, where he intended to move with his special friend Stephanie Dugger.
Tom was also passionate about his friends. He loved them a lot, and that love was fully reciprocated. He always championed the underdog, and made positive changes happen for many people he knew.
He loved art, especially Monet and Van Gogh, and one of the highlights of his life was a visit to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. An omnivorous reader, he also loved video games and movies, Latin, snowboarding, dogs, knives, hats, juggling, playing baseball, skydiving, and arguing the fine points of any opinion. He was great with children, and would have been a fine parent and teacher.
He was the kindest of men, and his intelligence, passion and humor will remain in our hearts forever. A gentle spirit in a complex world is now tranquil in the universe.
He is survived by his parents, Peter and Jan Fish; his sisters, Lisa (Mark) Helms, Katherine (Charlie) Tucker, and Rebecca (Joe) Ewan; and his brother, Jeremy (Susan) Fish; uncles, William S. (Fran) Granger and Farley Granger; first cousins, Scott (Betti) and Russell (Angie) Granger; his aunt, Carolyn (Randy) Vail; and many other cousins, nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Harvey T. Granger and George M. Fish; and his grandmothers, Janet Stewart Granger and Steffi Nordli Barrett. We also honor his many friends -- they know who they are.
A gathering to celebrate Tom's life will be held at Hanby Middle School in Gold Hill on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at — p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to a fund in his honor for the planned construction of a skate park in Gold Hill. Donations may be made to the Tom Fish Memorial Fund at Chase Bank, 612 2nd Ave., Gold Hill, OR 97525.
Arrangements by Conger-Morris Funeral Directors, Central Point, 541-664-3361.
Thomas Russell Granger Fish