On August 6, 2021, the book lovers, sculpture admirers, and hummus eaters of Susquehanna County lost a true friend and unflagging source of these important springs of joy—Tom Canouse.
Tom was born on May 23, 1947 in Berwick, PA to Glen and Betty Canouse. An outdoorsman and good with his hands, Tom grew up from Boy Scout to avid hiker and cyclist. He hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and was frequently seen on his bike on country roads many miles from home.
As a young man, Tom served in the Army in Vietnam, receiving several commendations, including multiple Bronze Stars. Afterwards he attended college and became a school teacher in New Hampshire, an early manifestation of the endless enthusiasm for literature and learning that later fueled his treks to seemingly every book sale in the northeastern U.S., looking for the best reads for Second Story Books, the shop that he founded in 2005, along with Butternut Gallery, with his late wife and business partner, Betty Bryden. The books in Tom’s shop were either your favorite book ever, the book you had been meaning to read but didn’t get to yet, or the one you’d never heard of that then became your favorite book ever.
Paper was one of the many loves Tom and Betty shared, and Tom made Japanese-influenced wood block prints, as well as wood carvings, with birds, dogs, and cats being favorite subjects. Tom and Betty both loved to cook, and frequently provided good food, including the famous hummus, to family, friends, and gallery patrons. He also enjoyed jazz and blues music, and basketball on TV with the sound off.
Tom practiced meditation with the community of the Three Treasures Zen Center in Oneonta, NY, where he cultivated the introspective peace of spirit that shines so clearly in his art.
Alice Mischke, Executive Director of Pink Arrow Arts, the Susquehanna County arts organization of which Tom and Betty were founding members, and the home of Butternut Gallery & Second Story Books, said, “Every day I am at Pink Arrow Arts, I sit in the marvelous and sweet bookstore that Tom created over so many years. I love to think of him ever in search of books worth reading and sharing with us. We so miss his appreciation and enthusiasm for those words and stories that are our common heritage, his quiet humor, and his unapologetic insistence on being himself.”
Tom is survived by his aunt Ruth Bennett; brother Scott; sisters-in-law Judy Van Pelt and Donna Wood (Curt), nieces Jill Danilich (Bill) and Kelly Howard (Owen), nephews Bill Van Pelt (Jill) and Aaron Wood, (Lisa) and several great-nieces and nephews. Tom’s friends and fellow book- and art-lovers sharply feel his loss. Tom is also survived by his cat, Etta Mae, who has taken up residence with a little boy in New Hope, PA, who is very devoted to her.
Calling hours will be at Daniel K. Regan Funeral Home, 232 South Main Street, Montrose, on September 18, 2021, 10:00 am, with a memorial service at 11:00 a.m. Private burial will be at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Pink Arrow Arts, 35 Pine Street, Montrose, PA 18801.Read More