VINCIGUERRA--Thomas J. The Columbia College community mourns the passing of an outstanding journalist, editor and author, 57, who greatly enriched the life of the university; he died February 22 in Garden City, NY, following a year of failing health. The longtime associate editor of the alumni magazine Columbia College Today, Tom later served as deputy editor of The Week and executive editor of Indian Country Today. He was a prolific freelancer who contributed many pieces to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other publications. His books include Cast of Characters: Wolcott Gibbs, E.B. White, James Thurber and the Golden Age of the New Yorker, and A Community of Scholars: Seventy-Five Years of The University Seminars at Columbia, which he edited. A 1985 graduate of the College, where he was active at Spectator and the Varsity Show, he also earned a Master's in journalism and English at Columbia. He single-handedly revived the College's Philolexian literary and debate society, one of the nation's oldest; he was officially recognized as the society's "Avatar." He is survived by his brother William, of Garden City, sister-in-law Jeanine, a niece and nephew. Elena Cabral '93 Beth Ritchie Chung '88 Addison F. Golladay '93 Robert Hardt '91 James C. Katz '72 Brian Krisberg '81 James T. McMenamin Liz Pleshette '89 Robert E. Pollack '61 Roy Pomerantz '83

Published by New York Times on Mar. 8, 2021.
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4 Entries
Rafael Guzman
April 2, 2021
Rick MacArthur
March 24, 2021
Tom was one of the kindness men that I have ever known. I miss him very, very much. He was like a father to many "geezers" of the Philolexian Society of Columbia University. I used to call him my "Celebrity Friend" (and he'd laugh). My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
Eve Rotman
March 12, 2021
The last time I spoke with Tom, just five days before his death --Tom doing his part at a hundred miles an hour, as usual --about people and work and the absurdity of life, he told me an improbable story about his love life. We both shrieked with laughter. His voice was strong, and I took his word that his ailments weren't too serious.

The following week, still shocked by Tom's death, I saw that Fanne Foxe had died. Though I was deeply sad about Tom, I couldn't help but smile at the thought of what he might have said. "I died the same week as Fanne Foxe? I've got to write this!" he'd say, and rush off the phone. And Tom's obituary would include hilarious coincidences involving the Argentine Firecracker and their shared love of tidal basins, the Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol, Star Trek, and cigars.

Tom's work for the New York Times --hundreds of articles over the years --include some of the funniest and most distinctive pieces I've read there. With his erudition, love of movies, and savant-like fund of arcane information, Tom carved out a niche at the Paper of Record. In his excellent book CAST OF CHARACTERS, he managed to do what few writers could: breathe fresh air into the stories of several well known New Yorker figures. Having written about some of them myself, I was awed by this feat. Familiar as these characters were, I couldn't stop turning the pages.

A writer of crisp prose, a man of great enthusiasms and a loving heart, Tom was a unique presence in my life. I miss him already.
Linda H. Davis
March 12, 2021
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