Obituary: Thomas Robert Kellogg

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8/17/1946 – 9/4/2023

Thomas Kellogg died at his home in Lawrence, Kansas on September 4, 2023, from complications of an upper respiratory infection, age 77. He was born in Wichita on August 17, 1946, to Robert Verne and Mary Martha Carson Kellogg.

Chiefly, he loved sharp pencils, dull books, and the old Dewey Decimal card catalogue room at the Watson Library. The underlying causes of his death were lung cancer and heart failure, but they were kind enough to kill him so slowly that he had an unprecedented opportunity to cover large sheets of paper with his characteristic interminable sentences.

Tom was once called the force behind the 1960’s “Rumor Control” Information Center at the University of Kansas. While at KU, he was active in the Student Peace Union to protest the war in Vietnam. Yet, when called, he joined the Army and served as a medic working in wounded soldiers’ transport hospitals in Germany.

After military service he worked in hospitals in Boston, San Francisco, and Lawrence, and later assisted at The Community Addictive Treatment Center (CAT House) in Topeka. However, for most of his life Tom was employed as a laborer, cleaning classrooms and libraries on the Hill and for 25 years as custodian at St.John’s School.

Tom was a member of St. John’s Catholic Church where he happily built the “new fire” for lighting the Paschal and congregations’s candles at the beginning of the Easter Vigil. He was also a member of the Social Justice/Concerns Committee, and helped with the Mexican Fiesta. He sends his greeting to the Fiesta workers and promises to haunt the beer tent, but only once, if he can figure out how to get back here from There.

He was an active member of the First Santa Fe Trail Plainsmen Muzzleloaders Gun Club. They have, with great kindness, fulfilled his last wishes by finding new owners for his small collection of black powder guns. He was an enthusiastic participant in the Kansas Area Watershed (KAW) Councils’ WalkAbout/TalkAbout meetings. KAW, an environmental group, will be holding a WalkAbout in his memory.

Tom was married twice: to Jane Masheter for 18 years and Nancy Hubble for 38 years. That both of these fine women survived him and were still his friends, he recognized as an undeserved miracle. HIs is also survived by his stepson, Jason Schwartz, who, when the necessity to recognize that the current of authority between them had reversed direction, handled that sometimes difficult passage with tact and kindness.

Other survivors are siblings Carrie McDonald, Nan Harper (Jerry), Paula Kellogg (Gordie Sailors), Barbara Gannon (Robert Sullivan), Gina Kellogg, and Jack Kellogg (Joy Darrah), sister-in-law Paula M. Kellogg, and numerous nieces and nephews. Tom will be remembered as our Pied Piper, and caregiver, writer, teacher, story teller, trout fisherman, and woodsman. He was St. Thomas More, Dr. Johnson’s Boswell, and Bartleby the Scrivener rolled into one. This good kind man will have a place in the hearts of all who knew him.

Tom’s ashes will be buried near his deceased siblings, Verne and Amy Kellogg, in the Eldridge Cemetery in rural Sedgwick County on October 29. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring, 2024.

In his memory read one of his favorites: Marcus Aurelius, Lao Tzu, Red Pine, Simone Weil, Robert Lowell, Robinson Jeffers, Samuel Johnson, Robert Graves, Suzuki Roshi, Henry Adams, Henry James, or “The Wind in the Willows.”

This obituary was written by Tom (70%) with family contributing the balance. His last message to us all: “Goodbye! Most grateful thanks for your splendid cooperation. Godspeed and Good Luck,” and of course, his signature parting word: “Courage!”

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