We’ve Lost One of Our Own

A note from Louise Ure

To the many, many crime fiction writers who were touched by him:

I sorry to have to pass along the information that crime fiction reader and fan, Tom McGinn, died in Southern California on Tuesday, September 2.

You’ll remember him as the tall man with the Santa-like beard who came to all your signings at Mysteries To Die For, bought multiple copies of your books, and then had them autographed for each member
of his family. His wit and humor were legendary. His reading lists prodigious.

And you’ll remember him as fellow ‘Rati "Santa Tom" in his posts here.

He named a wide range of authors — from Ann Parker and Patty Smiley to David Morrell and Stuart Kaminsky as "his favorites."
I will remember him as the man who taught me that when you sign your emails with a host of hugs and kisses, Spellcheck will translate all those X’s and O’s as "tsetses."

Tsetses to you, Tom McGinn.

If any of you would like to send your condolences to his wife, Sue, please contact me at louiseure@aol.com and I’ll pass along the address.


14 thoughts on “We’ve Lost One of Our Own

  1. Naomi

    Nooooooooo. Can’t believe this. Isn’t Santa supposed to live forever? Southern California has lost a true gem. I’ll miss the beard and I’ll miss the suspenders, but most of all, I’ll miss the man.

  2. pari

    Aw, sh*t.

    What is going on? This is just horrible.

    I met Tom in person when he and Sue came to New Mexico last year for the Tony Hillerman conference. Tom brought bottles of wine for all, and I mean ALL, of the authors to “thank them for hours of reading pleasure.” I was struck by his warmth and incredible kindness, his humor . . .

    This is just too sad.

  3. Rob Gregory Browne

    I met Tom several times over the last couple of years at Mysteries to Die For. He came to my signing there and several others I attended, and was one of the nicest guys you could possibly imagine.

    The last time I saw him was at a recent Brett Battles signing. Tom’s family was there as well and he seemed in good health and spirits. A tall, gentle man who had obviously passed his love of books on to his kids.

    This is such sad, sad news.

  4. Hugh McGinn

    Thank you all for your kind thoughts and generous words. Louise, thank you for remembering my dad here at Murderati.

    My dad was a fan of books, it is a love he passed on to both my sister and I, as well as my children. He was also a fan of authors and their craft, as many of you found out when you met him.

    While I hope to one day meet you all and thank you personally for your kind words, you should know that I do not have the stock of wine he possessed, so a handshake will have to do.

    Thank you all again for remembering him, he will be missed, but never forgotten and always thought of fondly.

    I miss you Dad.

  5. Mary Pat Holewinski

    My heavy heart is lightened by all the beautiful comments that I’m reading on this site. My brother, Tom, did love books! He always loved books. Our parents loved books and passed it down to all seven of us but, none to the degree that Tom had it! He would go to your book signings, buy books for us and rave about each one of you! I really didn’t know when he found time to read all the books that he got! Reading your comments now tells me that he was more than someone who just bought your books! You really got to know him. Thank you for that. Thank you for letting him into your world of books and thank you for sharing.Tom’s sister,Mary Pat

  6. David Holewinski

    As one of Tom’s brother-in-laws I must admit his love for books and authors was overwhelming at times. Tom was “Santa”. On a visit to us, in combination with a book signing in New York, last year, my wife, Mary Pat and I awaited his and Sue’s arrival at Penn Station in New York. While waiting, a young child was busy moving about awaiting his grandmother’s arrival. In a conversation with the youth we mentioned that we also were waiting for a special person, Santa. His reaction was, no way, Santa is at the North Pole, to which we answered that even Santa needs a vacation and he was coming to visit us. As the train arrived the youth was no where to be seen until, out of nowhere, he came running as Tom and Sue came up the stairs, shouting, “Santa, Santa, Santa it IS you”. His mother tried to quiet the child but Tom just reached into his backpack and retrieved a toy which he handed to the youth and said this is for you. That event was one that will stay with me forever, Tom just being Tom. I’ll miss his stories, jokes, sometimes bad but yet jokes, his love and quick wit.God Bless You Tom,David

  7. Sue

    I am touched by these kind words written about Tom. However, I’m not surprised.

    No one would have described Tom as a “wall flower.” He truely did know someone wherever went. If the adults didn’t know him, the children certainly did. Tom always carried small toys with him to give away. Even the nurses and physicians benefited from Santa’s generiosity. I will sadly miss being Mrs. Claus.

    As you all know, Tom was a voracious reader. He often was reading three books at any given time. He always carried a book to read in case he had to wait or stand in a line. You can imagine the number of books still waiting for me to read. He loved meeting his favorite authors. Well, you are my favorite authors too. I’ll be seeing many of you at future book signings at Mysteries To Die For.

    take care, Sue McGinn


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