Thomas S. T. Gimbel, Jr., educator, author, disability pioneer, 1985 to 2016.
Son of Thomas S. T. Gimbel and Lesley B. Gimbel of Glen Cove and brother of Peter B. Gimbel, Lesley B. Gimbel and Hope K. Gimbel. He died Thursday, July 14, of heart failure associated with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Thomas “Tommy” was a graduate of the Portledge School Class of 2003 where he was an Art Prize winner and honors student. He was graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in religious studies in 2007 where he was an illustrator and cartoonist for Brown publications. He was a member of the Brown Christian Fellowship. He received an M.A. with honors from Harvard University in 2009 and an M.A. in the doctoral program from New York University in 2012 in comparative religion and religious studies.
He published the book God’s Words in Human Voices in 2007, writing by blowing Morse Code through a straw-like tube attached to his computer and with some use of voice recognition technology. His yet-to-be published autobiography, Muscleman, is in its last editing stages. Tommy was a faculty member at Portledge School in Locust Valley and a revered teacher of both modern and ancient languages. He sought to inspire people in learning making it both fun and fulfilling.
He was a director of youth ministry at St. John’s of Lattingtown Episcopal Church and teacher of Adult Bible Studies there as well. He gave several moving sermons at St. John’s of Lattingtown. He was a recently ordained Christian Minister. Earlier in his life, as a young man, Tommy and his older brother Peter, were featured on the MDA Labor day telethon. Tommy spoke at certain conferences for the Parent Project including internationally. While he still had use of his arms, he was a painter and cartoonist. He used the computer and the internet both for academic and various purposes tutoring students and competing at chess with people worldwide.
Tommy Gimbel was the quintessential example of “can do” optimism even with very limited physical capabilities, in a wheel chair and requiring full-time breathing assistance from a ventilator machine. He had clarity of vision and purpose and an aura of welcoming kindness to everyone. His soft spoken wisdom of personal experience mixed with Christian philosophy and often delivered with a sense of humor made an enticing blend which drew people and inspired them. Many have reported that his observations and appreciation of life’s gifts from the subtle to the sublime changed their lives forever.
Arrangements entrusted to Dodge-Thomas Funeral Home of Glen Cove, www.dodgethomas.com. Interment private. A memorial service will be held on Aug. 13, 2016, 11 a.m. at St. John’s of Lattingtown. Contributions in Tommy’s memory may be sent to: St. John’s of Lattingtown/Memory of Tommy, 325 Lattingtown Rd., Locust Valley, NY 11560.