The purpose of this post is not so much to reveal the name of the neighbor whose life tragically ended last Monday after he jumped from his fourth floor apartment window, but to honor his memory.
Thomas Meyer, a Philosophy professor at Temple University and Penn graduate, will be greatly missed by his friends. One of them is Michelle Wallhagen who met Tom at grad school. This is what she wrote about Tom and their friendship:
Within five minutes of meeting Tom Meyer, I knew I’d never meet someone like him again. We were both starting graduate school in philosophy. Tom’s commitment to the importance of philosophizing as a way of life was immediately striking. It lent a magnetic intensity to everything he did.
Students were enchanted by him. He fulfilled their expectations of what a “real” philosopher should be like, with his brooding manner and eccentric mannerisms. And he sought to reveal to them the heart of philosophy–that the seemingly simplest questions are crucial to understanding the world and one’s place in it.
Too often brilliance and integrity do not go hand in hand, but in Tom’s case they did. When my heart was broken, when breast cancer came calling, he didn’t try to fix my pain, he walked through it with me.
He played a central role in the happiest day of my life as the minister (internet ordained) at my wedding. He was perfect for the part, earning the nickname “The Jedi” by my fiancee’s friends.
I will miss Tom’s droll humor, his sudden flashes of insight, his eccentricities, his philosophical brilliance, his vulnerability, his loyalty. But most of all, I will miss his ability to listen. He knew how to genuinely listen–not simply waiting for his turn to speak, but seeking to understand another human being’s experience of life.