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Thomas Michael Wyman

Died: February 9, 1998

Walter Knorr remembers:

I am so happy that several Choate classmates have come forward with memories of Tom in his time before, during, and after New Haven.

Tom and I shared many a meal in the Trumbull dining hall, and along the way he learned of my interest in things German, and I learned about his summer working in Bavaria as a management trainee in his dad’s factory south of Munich.

One thing led to another, and he was kind enough to connect me with his dad and arrange for me to follow in his footsteps at the factory in the summer after our graduation and before I headed off to my German graduate studies.

Tom may not have been my lifelong friend, but I distinctly remember him as a really good guy who made my life at Yale a lot better and who contributed in a significant way to my subsequent career.

William Thomas remembers:

The last time I saw Tom was a luncheon rendezvous we arranged in the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel on 44th Street in New York, shortly before his unexpected death in, I think, 1996 at the age of 52. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and called him to express my feeling of “an insufficiency of Wyman.” We had a nice lunch with adequate lubrications and discussed our separate lives, vowing to come together more frequently in the future.

But, there wasn’t much future for Tom. As I understand it, not long after our luncheon, he underwent a seemingly minor operation on his thyroid, went home for rest and recovery, and developed a pulmonary embolism at home which took him away very suddenly. There was a funeral at a massive New York Unitarian church for Tom, and it was absolutely packed. Afterward, several of his Choate and Yale friends reminisced and bemoaned our fate at losing such a lovely man so early. My own inadequate response to this tragedy has been to make an annual contribution in Tom’s name to Choate-Rosemary Hall as my way of not forgetting him, at the very least once a year.

Tom Wyman and I met at The Choate School in the late fifties. I’m not quite sure whether we actually roomed together, or were just several times in nearby accommodations. But we became close friends and even shared some vacation time together. I remember being invited to visit Tom’s family at their ski lodge, perhaps at Stratton Mountain in Vermont. I was impressed that Tom’s father would finish a day of skiing with a full glass of Kirschwasser, which seemed to me to be powerful stuff. I believe the family was from Austria, and the Kirsh was an Austrian tradition. Since I remember being offered some, perhaps we were already at Yale, where Tom and I and two others (Gerry Reese and John Holderness) roomed our freshman year in Durfee Hall on the Old Campus. In subsequent years, Tom and I didn’t room together and saw less of each other, but certainly not intentionally. That first year I remember lengthy discussions of the differences between main line Protestantism and his Unitarian church.

I remember Tom as a jovial, kind, and intelligent friend, always slightly overweight and nonathletic, a lover of good food. I believe he played golf at Choate, and after college he was a keen partaker of shotgun sports – skeet, trap, and sporting clays. He belonged, I think, to a shooting club north of New York City.

Tom lived in an apartment just off Fifth Avenue on 68th Street in those days, and although I have met his wife, I didn’t know her well, and we have not kept in touch — I wouldn’t know how to contact her today. Tom had a succession of jobs as consultant, merchant, importer, businessman, never seeming to nail down an enduring career exactly. At one time he worked with, or for, Don Lieberman, a mutual friend from Yale, somewhere in northern New Jersey, Hackensack perhaps. We lost touch during this period, and that lack of contact finally led to the rendezvous I began with in this remembrance. I certainly now regret that we weren’t together more in the years between college and his passing, and I sorely miss his warm and cheerful companionship.

Chris Swindells remembers:

Tom was a great friend who left us far too early. We had known each other since boarding school days and became a bit friendlier at Yale as fellow Zeta Psi brothers. But it was only after we graduated that circumstances brought us closer together beginning in the early 70s when we were both recently married and working in NYC. During those years we saw each other regularly, and our wives became great friends as well.

Tom’s family was very business oriented, and much was expected of him in this regard. After Yale Tom attended the Amos Tuck Business School at Dartmouth but left after one year. He worked for a time in the marketing divisions of Nabisco and Texas Gulf Sulfur before joining his family’s firm — a large producer of injection molded plastics. All of this he did willingly, and to fulfill his family’s expectations, but not terribly to his liking.

But Tom’s real passion in life was haute cuisine. He was a true gourmet and gourmand. I first became aware of the extent of his interest and knowledge of gastronomy when we connected in Geneva, Switzerland one summer after Yale, and he insisted on inviting me to an unforgettable meal at the renowned Auberge de Père Bise restaurant in Talloires, France. He discussed the entire menu with the maitre d’ before ordering for both of us, and it was a pleasure to see the enjoyment he derived from the whole experience. As the years went by, he became an accomplished chef in his own right. He devoted much of his time to the management of the cooking and dining facilities at the Gipsy Trail community in upstate New York where he maintained a summer home. Those who knew him well sometimes felt that he had missed his true calling as a restaurateur or executive chef, such was his skill and passion for all things culinary.

Most of all I remember Tom for his genuine warmth, engaging laugh, his devotion to his wife Llana, and as someone who embodied the true meaning of friendship. He was true a gentleman, and a very gentle man as well.

Stephen Gilhuley remembers:

Tom Wyman came to Yale in the Fall of 1962 with fourteen other graduates of The Choate School in Wallingford, CT. Tom and I attended Choate together for four years. Tom was very gregarious, not very athletic, but very enthusiastic and good natured with a good sense of humor and a hearty, almost bawdy, laugh. My clearest memories of Tom are as my Choate class co-agent for about twenty years before his untimely death in February1998. Tom loved our class activities — reunions and other gatherings — and even his conversations with classmates at fund raising phonathons, which can be tedious and awkward. Tom was always optimistic and devoted to his schools and his school mates. I miss Tom, especially around the time of any Choate or Yale activities, which he always attended. Tom would not have missed our 50th Reunion!