Sunday, I learned that my uncle, Tom Faigin, passed away at 4:30 AM. It wasn’t unexpected; but it is still a loss. As I did with my father when he died, I’d like to share a few remembrances.
When I think about Tom, first and foremost, I think about folk music. He was a musician at heart. He loved music. He taught music. He was at home playing a guitar, banjo, or mandolin. We shared that love (well, not playing, but of music — I can only play the cassette recorder). He introduced me to so many artists (especially when I digitized his record collection). I introduced him to a few. Although I could never play an instrument, I enjoyed listening to him play (and I’ll enjoy the one CD I have of him). We went to McCabes together a few times (I think he was the one that originally introduced me to Shep Cooke). We also had a lot of folk friends in common, for there are a large intersection between the folk communities and the cybersecurity communities.
He was also the political firebrand of the family. By that I mean that we had wonderful political discussion (especially as we were of a similar political bent). He was connected to the older labor-style Judaism that you don’t see these days. A Judaism more of action — and social action — than anything else. This also came through in the folk music.
In his later years, he was part of a musical group called the Geritones. His daughter is working on a documentary of the group. My memory of the Geritones is when they came to play for a membership recruiting day for Temple Beth Torah. They played a variety of old folk, Yiddish, and other Eastern European music.
I remember that he was an uncle my daughter loved as well. She loved to go over and visit, and as she got older and into Yiddish, they had another shared love. I also felt that her love of Yiddish was genetic, coming from my father and his father before him. Luckily, she was able to share her excitement of her trip to Eastern Europe with him. Alas, she wasn’t able to share her pictures after the trip.
His family suffered a loss a few years ago with the passing of his son, my cousin Nick. Nick, too, was an artist, and I think they shared that passion. Their musical tastes were different (and I’m not sure all understood), but art was in the blood.
He is survived by his wife, Ann, and his daughter Cece, and of course all of us cousins. Of the original four brothers (my father, Adrian; Herbert; Ron, and Tom), only my Uncle Ron remains. May he stay strong and healthy.