Thomas Tico
1942 - 2016
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Thomas Michael Tico

May 15, 1942 - February 4, 2016

Committed to living an artistic life, Tom Tico dedicated his life to his passion as a haiku poet. In the early 70's, he determined conventional employment was no longer for him. He resigned from his work with the US Postal Service, and dedicated his time and energy for the remainder of his life to creative and personally satisfying pursuits. While his commitment to this path was not without challenges, Tom never wavered from his absolute certainty that he was living his life the way he needed to in order to be true to himself. Tom was a complex person, and yet simple in his clarity and his pleasures.

Hundreds of Tom's English language haiku from the mid 60's onward have been published, as well as many of his haiku-related articles and readings. In 1992, Tom co-edited The San Francisco Haiku Anthology. He subsequently self-published a book of his own work, Spring Morning Sun in 1998. Later in his life, Tom developed a passion for photography, and applied the same lens evident in many of his haiku - the beauty of the marriage between the natural and the urban environment.

Tom lived an active life, and particularly loved to play basketball and Frisbee. He played both well, from his youth into his 60s, with a smooth, graceful style. He taught his four children to play Frisbee from an early age, with patience and joy in their progress "reading the Frisbee". Tom loved to walk, which he said gave him the opportunity to happen upon inspiration for his haiku or his photography.

Movies and books were two of Tom's other life-long enjoyments. He had an extraordinary knowledge of movies, directors, actors and authors. Family and friends knew to expect nearly every conversation with Tom would include references to books, movies or actors that somehow tied in with the topic at hand.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Mabel Tico, his younger sister, Janice Tico, and his half-brother, Chuck Byrns. Tom is survived by his brother, Edward Tico; children: Christopher, Alexander, Minerva and Nathanael Tico; daughters-in-law: Wendy, Kristin and Rebecca; and grandchildren: Jonathan, Alex, Jordan, Morgan, Reeva, Adrian, Gabriella, and Sawyer.

Born and raised in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury, he also lived nearly every year of his life in the city he loved. Tom Tico passed away peacefully on February 4th due to a degenerative lung disease. On the last night of his life, he reflected with contentment on his life "as an outsider", the significance of being able to take satisfaction in the character of his children, and his readiness for whatever came next.

Misting across
the cold bright stars -
my own breath

- Tom Tico

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28, 2016.
Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
October 3, 2017
Sidewalk Poppy
I miss our long discourse when you would stop on your city walks, a flaneur.
Susan Leas Latham
October 26, 2016
Tom, dear, longtime friend, I think of you often, and always will, especially when I'm in the Haight, walking the Panhandle, or in the park, which we both loved. It was an honor and a privilege and a pleasure to know you and spend time with you, and I feel I'll know you always, especially when the fog is in, or in Spring Morning Sun!

Love forever from us: Elizabeth, Annabel and Jeff
Elizabeth Hope
October 12, 2016
You will be missed my friend of over 61 years. I am so glad we met and talked a few years ago after a long time of not seeing each other. I was planing on taking you out to lunch soon, but the days seemed to pass and now you are gone. You were a true friend and Page and Central was where we met. You told me, "I think i got life figured out". Knowing you, you did! I will miss you. RIP. Your friend, David Arsanis
David Arsanis
April 11, 2016
Tom Tico's poems and the speech of their sorrow, gladness, and wisdom have accompanied me for over 40 years and will continue to do so. The story they tell is a simple account of what he was in life and what he did in this world, direct and pure.

--Michael McClintock
April 3, 2016
When the haiku poet leaves there is a poem on his breath. Yours was surely a worthy one! With that in mind I write:

window wide open
bed facing west
I listen for his death poem

vincent tripi
April 1, 2016
Tom was a special spiritual friend. I'll never forget meeting him, though our mutual friend Roger Kat, and the pleasant times from when I lived in the Haight. I didn't run into him for many years but then did on occasion and we would also talk. I still remember many of the lthings he said - a wise man he was. Most recently, it must have been late 2015, I saw him and he told me of his new passion - to climb a tree in the panhandle of Golden Gate Park and sit in the top above it all. This tree was a redwood and very tall! The tree was one he climbed as a youth and my last sight of Tom was him climbing it, careful to make sure no one noticed, and as I walked far enough away, I turned back to spot him up there and waved to him secretly, so no one would notice, as he wished to keep it a secret. He mentioned his difficulty in breathing but he seemed fine and so full of life. It was such an honor to know him. RIP Tom - you were a special friend.
Karen Vitulano
March 9, 2016
My sincere condolences to family and friends. Your voice will be missed!
Michael Henry Lee
March 6, 2016
A friend for many years, though I never knew when I would run into him around San Francisco.

What a pleasure to be reminded of him, seeing one of his haiku in a book in Cambridge MA.
March 4, 2016

all the shadows
lengthening at sunset
Golden Gate Park

For Tom Tico
Karma Tenzing Wangchuk
March 2, 2016
A wonderful poet, whom I never had the honor of meeting in person. I will miss him.
John Martone
March 1, 2016
We had never met, But I always recognized his voice in his haiku. Many thanks, Tom.
Ellen Compton
March 1, 2016
Althought I never met Tom I felt I knew Tom through his haiku. His poetry offered readers joy, insight and depth. My sincere condolences to his family and close friends.
anne burgevin
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