Saying Goodbye

Wooden boats have an energy and a spirit that is comprised of the wood from which they are made and the hands that made them.  It comes from the careful, skilled hands that shave curls of wood off an edge to make a perfect fit; an eye for sensuous, gentle curves that, when combined, create art and function simultaneously; a brawn body to mold and lift what used to be a tree into a shape that becomes a boat; and a sharp, swift mind to bring the forces of mathematics and physics to heal.

It’s not often that all of these qualities are housed in one person, but Tom Bournival was one.  He was integral in building the Riggin‘s yawl boat and the house in which we live.  He left our world this Sunday, and while his physical self is no longer with us, his spirit will live on in the numerous boats he touched.

Our world is less because he is gone, but full from the legacy he leaves behind.

I have this image in my head of a scene similar to one in “Like Water for Chocolate” where instead of tears flowing into kneading bread, they stain newly sanded wood and newly steamed planks of wooden sailing vessels cared for without the hands of our dear friend.

Annie and Jon
You are already sorely missed, friend.

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  • Pamela Eckelbarger
    February 17, 2010 at 7:46 am

    One of Tom’s last jobs was to renovate our miserable front porch and tiny entryway. His talented mind & hands turned the space into a wonderful sunroom, cheerful & bright abounding with woodwork that illustrates his love and talents for carpentry.

    I have known Tom for many years as Linda is my best horse friend. But this was my first (and sadly last) experience watching him work for 2 months to transform our space. My husband & I have never had such an easy fun time with house construction!

    Every time we walk into that room, we feel Tom’s presence. We have named it the “Thomas Bournival Memorial Sun Room”.

    • Annie Mahle
      February 17, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Aptly named. It is a testament to the man and his craft that he touched so many lives in a personal and professional way and that his spirit will continue to live on in the spaces in which we live and work.

  • Marilynn Hopkin
    February 28, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Thank you so much for your touching thoughts.I am one of his three sisters andtreasure the fact that he lives on in the lives of his friends and family and the monument of his work.


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