|YaK:: Thomas M. Rodgers (1 Aug 1943 - 10 Apr 2012)
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Tom Rodgers -- the man who for 20 years was the main driving force behind Gatherings for Gardner and other far-reaching initiatives to shine new light on the rich legacy of Martin Gardner-- has died in Atlanta. He was 67.
The last few days of March and the first day of April saw g4g10 held at the Ritz Carlton downtown, as scheduled. It was a great success, despite the unease in the air once attendees learnt that Tom was gravely ill. It was his express wish that the meeting proceed as usual, and by and large, he got his wish.
On the Saturday afternoon, at his insistence, a long-standing tradition was observed, when several hundred people gathered in the grounds of his amazing house in Buckhead for six or seven hours, and engaged in the standard activities of mathematical sculpture building or observing, eating, networking and relaxing with like-minded spirits. Attendees there (who also spoke at the 4 day conference) ranged from age 12 to 92, not to mention a well-known and sprightly 95 year old from Calgary.
That morning, Tom had chaired a g4g board meeting at his home. He remained active in, and passionate about, his vocation as long as he could.
What Tom led the way in doing for the past two decades was bringing together, from all over the world, talented people in the arts and sciences, from mathematicians and logicians and magicians, to sculptors and puzzle and game inventors. This often resulted in spectacular interactions and collaborations, very much in the spirit of Martin Gardner. We are all the richer for it.
A legendary puzzle collector himself, Tom had no advanced training in mathematics or magic, but could count among his friends (and frequent house guests) the likes of John H. Conway, Elwyn Berlekamp, Roger Penrose, Lennart Green, Mark Setteducati and Will Shortz.
Along with his second wife Sarah Garvin, he was also a true connoisseur of fine wine and food, and those fortunate enough to enjoy hospitality (sometimes with cookery book author Shirley Corriher in residence) in their authentic Japanese house are unlikely to forget it.
It's up to the rest of us to ensure that what he started, especially the worldwide "anyone can join in" Celebration of Mind events, continue for decades to come.
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