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Greetings Forum Members,
Riley Lee posted on his Facebook page that Tom Deaver passed away this morning.
Many of us knew Tom and play his exceptional flutes. It is a sad day for the shakuhachi community.
I don't know anything else other than what Riley said. More details will surely come to light.
This is very sad indeed. This just shows how frail we are and that we should enjoy every moment we have.
I am deeply shocked by this news. Tom was so important in getting me into shakuhachi. When I was a monk in Colorado in the 70's, Tom and I wrote frequently and he sent me a root end and helped me along trying to make my first flute. Later, when I moved to Japan, I spent time with Tom and his family in his home in Nagano learning more about the shakuhachi. When I left, he gave me a bunch of root ends and told me to practice bending, making utaguchi....He also told me the most important thing to do in order to make a good shakuhachi was to be a good player. That was the best advice I ever received.
As soon as someone knows more, please let me know. I still cannot believe it.
The Shakuhachi world has lost another well of deep knowledge and insight into the construction and acoustics of the Shakuhachi. Tom was a good friend and fellow spirit.
We shall miss you Tom. Rest in Peace
His famliy have made the following arrangements.
7/14 an evening Wake at Tom's home for family and close friends.
7/15 10:00 Farewell service at Tom's home for anyone who wishes to pay their respects.
Place and contact information; 4508 Ikuta Matsukawa-Cho, Nagano-Ken 399-3302
Tel. +81 265 36 5077
Thats really sad indeed, I never contacted him or something but read alot about him and his flutes. My thoughts are with him and his family!
This is very sad news indeed. Tom was a man of integrity and heart - and a major figure in the transmission of shakuhachi. I know many of us shakuhachi people have stories of staying with and learning from Tom. He had a generous, witty, humorous, self-effacing, yet serious way of teaching. One of my favorite shakuhachi Tomism's, "Do what you think is right." He's done his work well. Thanks Tom.
I have been close Tom for 27 years, although we hadn't communicated much in recent years.
He was a special person.
I will play Banshiki for the safe passage of his soul into its next incarnation.
Bill O'Connor asked me to post the following:
"With great sadness I must pass on the information that Tom Deaver died in the early hours of this Monday morning.
Tom was diagnosed with cancer a year ago, rather too late.
He died in hospital surrounded by his family.
Tom was many things to many people; he was a very good friend to me.
Tom had an incisive intellect and a consuming passion for Shakuhachi.
He was always willing to help those with a genuine interest, and was generous in giving advice even if perhaps this generosity seemed veiled to some.
I'm going to miss him!
As per Toms wishes there will not be a funeral as such, just a fond farewell.
If you knew him, please remember him in your own way and think of his family as they come to terms with their loss.
This from Peter Ross (via the shakuhachi e-list):
"Some memories of Tom:
I stayed with Tom and his family in 1975 in their house in the countryside
outside of Osaka. He had recently opened his own flute making shop after a
long shakuhachi making apprenticeship. The story he told me was that he
asked Chikusen if he could be his apprentice. He was told no. Tom then
went and got all his stuff and came back. Chikusen didn't know what to do
with him as this was NOT culturally correct behavior. He stayed for 7
In those days, I had this naïve, romantic image of how it was to study from
a master maker or player. So, I was shocked when Tom told me that when
Chikusen went to town once a week for supplies some of the apprentices
looked at each other and said "today's the day he dies in a car crash and
then we can open our own workshops".
Tom took me around to meet Sakai Chikuho and others. He was a gracious
host. My last night there he took me out for a special broiled eel dinner,
and lots of saki.
A few years later I was teaching a shakuhachi class at a community college
in Hawaii and Tom rushed me 10 student flutes. I think they cost a $100
each back then. I can still smell the fresh urushi. Now, I can't get near
Last time I saw him was at the Boulder Shakuhachi Festival in '97 or
'98? He looked like an old beach bum. Still had that crusty sense of
humor. I know not everyone liked him. He was a real character, but, we hit
it off for some reason and kept in touch. Last year he told me he was sick
and trying qigong and herbal remedies. I was thinking of emailing him last
week to see how he was doing.
Tom was a unique personality. We'll miss his blend of wit and sincere love of shakuhachi. He helped many many people move on down their shakuhachi path.
I was fortunate to spend one month on Tom's blueberry farm. It was a remarkable month of shakuhachi and eco living. Tom was always humble towards the challenge of making shakuhachi. Many of his words will continue to echo in my head when I am playing or making shakuhachi. Philip Horan.
Sitting with Tom in his workshop, playing his flutes, watching him repair, listening to stories of Chikusen Tamai, having a meal with his family.... these are small moments that have remained a constant source of inspiration across all aspects of my life. I shall remember Tom as a humble artist who put his heart into his craft, a craft that built the house where he raised his children, a craft that in some small way helps to make the world a better place.
In deep respect, Perry
Last edited by Yungflutes (2010-07-13 08:52:28)
I too, have fond memories of Tom who I first met at Boulder. The last communication I had with him went on for a week or so. It was a couple of years back when he sent me one of his flutes out of the blue to assess. It was a beautiful flute that I believe is in Riley's hands now. That last communication continued after I returned the flute to him in way of an urushi outbreak. It's but one thing that will actually live fondly in my memory about Tom.
Yesterday, family and friends held a simple parting ceremony for Tom, as per his wishes.
I was priviledged by geography to be able to attend.
Speeches were made, tears were shed, the sound of the Shakuhachi was heard drifting across the valley.
Someone (I think it was Endo San) said Tom was now floating as free as the sound of the Shakuhachi he loved so much.
Tom devoted most of his life to the Shakuhachi, another Shakuhachi friend in the area said there was no need to be sad... Tom had done exactly what he wanted to do with his life without resort to compromise.
He will be much missed.
On a practical note, if you have any open business with Tom and Bei Shu Shakuhachi his family are keen to know about it and I can put you in touch as appropriate.
I was sorry to hear of Tom's passing several weeks ago. We met at Bisei and in Boulder, and had corresponded a few times regarding shakuhachi making/playing in Japan. I bought his shakuhachi manuals at the WSF in Boulder, tried out a number of his flutes, and was graciously invited to his blueberry farm -- always had plans to make a journey up there but unfortunately never made it. He was quite a character as Edosan mentioned as well as being a superb flute maker. He will definitely be missed.