Yesterday a hole in the world opened that will never be filled again. Tom Genovese, a dedicated, loving, and passionate son, brother, and friend to many, was killed in a collision while riding his motorcycle.
There are few people out there like Tom. I got to know him a little over a year ago, when I wrote an article for All Over Albany on the opening his cafe. I came to call him a friend shortly after, drawn in by his warmth, magnanimity, and sense of humor. I imagine that happened to most who met him. Tom was an engineer, environmentalist, swing dancer, wonderful owner of two of the best dogs ever, entrepreneur, community builder, great guitarist and singer, and most importantly an excellent friend.
He was also passionate, the cafe being a prime example. He devoted the last two and a half years of his life to realizing this dream, and celebrated the first anniversary of its opening just a few days ago. Not many people would endure the struggle and hardship he saw during that time, and even fewer would would smile as much as Tom did throughout. He had an extraordinary ability to shake off whatever bothered him, always finding a way to laugh.
In the short year that I knew him, Tom left a trail of fond memories. Friendly arguments over which chips to serve with sandwiches. Watching his dogs try to eat the ice on the puddles at the top of Buck mountain in December. The slightly awkward “loincloth” pouch he wore on a hike up Roostercomb, and the mean campfire pancakes he made in the morning. So many visits to the cafe, with odd stories about customers, his unique open mic hosting talents, and the comfortable, homey feeling he nurtured there so quickly. More than once I ran into him on the street, Danny and Bosco offleash but always glued to his side. In fact, that’s how many people knew him, “that guy with the dogs”.
I spent a few hours last night at a friend’s house where many of us had gathered, to console each other and try to understand and make sense of what had happened. The number of people there and the mix of emotion are a testament to who Tom is. Yes, there were tears, but there was plenty of laughter too. To say that his closest friends are devastated is an understatement; without warning, they lost an irreplaceable gem of a human being.
Tom’s official obituary has more details. He touched so many lives, and will be remembered and missed in all of them. This has been mostly my own way of grieving and coming to grips with reality, so thanks for reading.