From a Second Friend

(Tom Holt)

If Cronan Thompson had lived another fifty, sixty years, he'd have been a famous man; he'd have written something outstanding, done something wonderful, made his mark on his own time and future generations. He could have been anything he wanted to be. He had the talent, the imagination, the ability to communicate, the compassion and the warmth of humanity. He had what it takes.

But that's alternate history, a much overrated genre. Far more important is what Cronan achieved in the short time he was given, who he actually was and what he actually did. In less than twenty years, he achieved more than most of us will in a full lifetime. He was one of the smartest, sharpest, wittiest people you could ever hope to meet, and through the Internet - "Usenet is my muse", he used to say - he reached out and communicated with a whole host of people and enriched their lives. "His foe was folly and his weapon wit"; he entertained, but he made us think. He spoke first, often loudest, usually best. He was always worth listening to.

Just as important as what he did was what he was; he was kind, gentle, loving and compassionate, devoted to his family, often painfully vulnerable as successive waves of misfortune, both the huge and the petty, broke upon him. He had a wonderful ability to generate friendship and love, to bring people together through his own warmth and gift for giving, and his great honesty. He loved to share good things with good people. He had the virtues of maturity and the vitality and perspective of youth.

Time isn't the only measure of extent; his time was short, but none of it was wasted, and in it he became more than most people will ever be.

Best of all, he was my friend; and even while I ache for his passing, I know he left me better than I would have been if I'd never met him.

Thanks for coming to the party, Cronan. Thanks for bringing so much, and sharing it.

- Tom Holt; Somerset, England

Return to Online Tribute to Cronan Thompson.