Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

March 15, 2014

Life As I Know It: Saying farewell to an influential teacher

Charles Tomlin, born July 11, 1953, died Feb. 25, 2014.

Mr. Tomlin passed away unexpectedly after complications from a recent surgical procedure. He is survived by his parents, one brother, one sister, a son and a daughter.

A memorial ceremony was held on March 4 in Columbia, Mo.

Not much of an obituary was it?

In fairness, I’ve written many things, but never an obituary.

Also, in fairness, I don’t know much about Charles Tomlin.

But I can tell you this one undeniable fact that I do know — he could play the guitar. I mean, he could really play the guitar.

Better yet, he could teach others to play the guitar.

Best of all, he was a teacher, mentor and friend to our son Stu.

Obituary aside, I also know that Charlie owned and operated a place called The Music Factory here in Traverse City, which was a haven for many of the best musicians in the Grand Traverse area. He was also an instructor at Northwestern Michigan College.

And, above all other things, he was the ultimate Groove Master.

Marcy and I were fortunate enough to have parented three children; all are now grownups and all out of the house. We were also fortunate enough to have been major influences in the choices and directions that each of our children’s lives took. But as every parent knows, for all of the influence and guidance that we think that we peddle, some place along the way, somebody is going to come along that your little kid is going to really listen to.

Oh, they’ll still listen to you. They’ll nod their heads and smile back at you as they head out into the world and let you think that your word still holds sway.

But outside of your earshot, there’s probably somebody else.

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