I only have distant (but very fond) memories of my uncle — He was Japanese, adopted by birth, but in many ways more American than my father, having imbibed Western culture to the fullest, marrying a bluegrass banjo legend from Alabama named Wendy Holcombe (he played bass guitar, although I don’t know the precise circumstances of their meeting). I remember the first time we met Uncle Tom and Aunt Wendy in Knoxville — they treated my brother Jon and me to pizza at Chucky Cheese, and a Walt Disney movie (The Black Cauldron).
Later on they came to Hickory, NC, where they stayed for a brief spell, and Aunt Wendy played banjo in our living room, including “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” (theme from Bonnie & Clyde).
There was a legend going around that a bunch of silver dollars were buried in the dirt-floor basement of the house we lived in at the time. I remember Uncle Tom actually rented a metal detector and spent the afternoon excavating with a shovel, to no avail. He was crazy and full of fun. He also helped my brothers and me rake leaves in the backyard (a never-ending chore during the fall).
Funny the little things you remember.
Aunt Wendy died very young, a victim of a heart ailment, and Uncle Tom never fully recovered in his grief. He had fallen out of touch with the rest of the Blossers, eluding my father’s efforts to locate him.
This past Friday, my father got a call from my grandfather, who was just informed by somebody in Birmingham, Alabama, that my Uncle Tom had passed away.
We had always entertained the faint hope of seeing Uncle Tom again, so this is especially hard news to take.
Please keep Thomas Blosser in your prayers, as well as my father and the rest of our extended family.
- The Adoption of Our Son Thomas, from the collected memoirs of Eugene and Louella Gingerich Blosser.
- Thomas Blosser (1951-2006), RIP – Dr. Blosser, March 29, 2006.
- Thomas Yoshiro Blosser – In Memoriam The obituary in The Birmingham News gave only the following spare details for Thomas Yoshiro Blosser the following Monday morning:
BLOSSER, THOMAS YOSHIRO, Accomplished local musician, Thomas Yoshiro Blosser, died suddenly of natural causes on Thursday, March 23, 2006. Born November 3, 1951, in Muroran, Japan, he became a naturalized US Citizen, was married to the late Wendy Holcombe, and is survived by his adoptive father, Eugene, and siblings, Philip, Rachel and Meiko. Memorial Services will be held on Monday at 2:00 p.m. at Charter Funeral Home, 621-0800. Published in The Birmingham News on 3/27/2006.
These few sentences, of course, do not begin to fathom the story of Tom’s life; nor can I, for that matter, in the brief compass of this post. But the story begins long ago in Japan. Read the rest of the story here.