Archive | November, 2012
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Obituary – Tom ‘Yobot’ Beidler

15 Nov

Please accept my apologies for this is a very belated post. Tom passed away on September 27, and it wasn’t until October 18th that I found out. While the ‘expat’ community in Helsinki is quite small, there are still many circles that don’t always overlap. Sometimes news takes a little while to travel around. The words have been churning in my mind all this time and even though they still don’t feel right, here they are. This obituary will be a little different also, in that I would like to pay tribute to everyone who came together on Halloween as a result.

Firstly I just would like to say that I’m glad to have met Tom (if I may say, my only regret is that I didn’t meet him earlier) and counted him as one of merry band of fans/supporters. We’d starting talking about getting my using Yobot as one place to visit on my trips about town. He was extremely excited about all the possibilities, not just with his own premises, also eying the landscape with a view to expansion. Talking with him was always a joy, which was why it was so easy to write my initial Yobot! piece back in June. It was easy to make excuses to drop into Yobot. The day I bought my formal gown, the very next stop was Yobot, and I spent much longer in Yobot than the dress shop 🙂

One Yobot regular Edna, wrote a very touching piece about life, community and being a stranger far from home for the Ovi Magazine. She then went one step further and set about organising a candle-light vigil on Halloween. It was an intimate event, on a very typical Helsinki autumn evening. Damp and dark. Tom’s family came with carved pumpkins which were placed alongside the candles on the front step. There was a small speech and participants were encouraged to comment and add their ‘Tom’ or ‘Yobot’ anecdotes.

Tom’s wife, Jaana spoke of next steps and not really knowing what direction to head in. She encouraged us to come forward if we had any ideas or suggestions or would be interested in being involved in the future. We shared a few words and I expressed my interest in being involved. Let’s see what the future holds. I certainly hope that Yobot does continue. Helsinki (and Finland) needs new and different ideas and people who are willing to stand behind them.

R.I.P. Tom Beidler 10.4.1963 – 27.9.2012

Postscript: Tom wrote a column for Helsinki’s daily broadsheet (Helsingin Sanomat), here is the obituary (in Finnish) that was published.

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