Pat's View: Tom Meier was an incredible human being, and my friend
By Patrick Robinson
When I met him it was at a party. His party. And that party never seemed to end.
It was one of many that were already legendary I would later learn.
Tom Meier was a constantly buzzing bright light of curiosity, humor, and above all, action. He seemed to be in motion even sitting still. I came to the party with a girl I was dating at the time and Tom was busy writing names on tags he would quickly slap on your chest so there were no strangers, no awkward introductions.. it was like visiting Disneyland in that way and many others.
He was the master of innovation and a true creative genius.
Tom had made his money by being a timber broker, first looking at aerial photos of land, then flying over them in a small planeand evaluating their potential sale value. He’d then approach the land owner and offer to sell off the timber, usually for a lot of money, and he’d get a percentage. It made him comfortable enough to buy a house on Alki Beach and enough free time to pursue his restless ambitions.
In his house were large wood burls he had fashioned into chairs but not chairs as you might imagine. These were smooth, polished, and wrapped in giant rope, hanging from the beams with more rope, and with furs lining the seat. On one wall was a massive imitation dinosaur claw, and across the room was a brass fireman’s pole to get you quickly to the basement. He knew carpentry, electrical, ventilation, painting, and seemingly everything. Out the back door was a deck and then another deck, and then above and past that was a gazebo with a bed on it where he slept. It might seem crude but he had a small closed off area for men only that housed his Pee-O-Meter with a dial that rated how much pee you had. It was hilarious.
Tom was incredibly organized with nuts, bolts, paint brushes, tools, and hundreds of other things all in labled bins in his garage so he could easily find them when he wanted to make something.. which was constantly. He told me he slept fours hours a night and would take naps later if he needed to but otherwise he was up, reading, or making something.
Tom was also a world traveller having visited many places in Africa, Southeast Asia, all over the United States, South America, and more and always writing out the stories of his adventures in long hand and then sending those letters off to his large group of friends. He was like the original travel blogger. He wrote about sailing over the plains of the Serengetti in a hot air balloon, about being chased by the Shining Path rebels in Columbia, about hacking his way through a jungle in Brazil with a machete only to come upon a small village that incredibly enough had a shoe repair shop for high heel shoes and another hut like structure with a chinese restaurant. He wrote about getting Malaria and his female friend having to be portaged out through another jungle in Thailand.
Over 47 years we would stay in touch and I felt lucky and privileged every time we talked.
When he still lived in West Seattle, he did odd jobs, mostly to stay busy. He came to my house and built a dressing room for my wife. While he was here he saw that my wife had many many flowers on the deck in pots. He was very impressed and said, "I think I'm going to do that" and he went home, built multiple flower boxes and thus began the "Flower House" in the 1300 block of Alki Ave SW. that has become so well known. He moved to Sedona, Arizona in 1999.
My wife and I visited him in Sedona and his house there was another wonderland of crazy creations. He had a “time machine” that he had built in Seattle and rebuilt there that was a multi tiered assembly of lights, crystals, turning wheels, gears and mirrors. He made what he called “Silly Sticks” that would sometimes be 12 feet tall, creations of lights, disks, pieces that moved or spun or reflected or otherwise added to the complexity and fun. We stayed in his room while he opted to sleep outside in a bed he had crafted of course near his garage. He showed us his Spud Gun which would use compressed air to fire potatoes off hundreds of feet into the air to land out somewhere in the brush. We toured the entire town in his car, which like every vehicle he owned, was “customized” with things screwed on to the dash, rhinestones glued on the exterior, and other painted elements. He bought an old van and totally customized it with a rooftop deck and many other oddities.. He called it the SunDog.
He was loyal, intellectual, courageous to a fault, and could make you feel like you were the smartest most important person he knew.. but he knew MANY amazing people. They were drawn to him because he didn’t just represent life. He WAS life in its most vibrant, carefree, optimistic, creative expression.
My goodness he was a remarkable human being and we shall not see his like again. I am aching over his departure but so overflowing with gratitude that he really did think of me as his friend. That’s something. That’s really something.
What a fun read. Whatta guy! So much life and creativity...if we could all get just a bit of that energy! Thanks for the tribute.
Thank you for writing this, I am married to Tom’s niece Sarah Meier. Tom loved his family and was a once in a lifetime artist. We visited his place in Sedona twice and were supposed to again, but Covid happened. He turned his homes into indescribable destinations that I feel honored to have visited. I feel lucky to have known him.
Thank you, Mike Sander
Love the read!
Thank you Pat for this lovely, well-written tribute to Tom....I have often struggled with describing him to others who don't know him and I think you did a great job...adding the pictures is a plus. The world has lost a huge swirl of creative, loving energy.
Thank you for your wonderful article. Tommy was definitely one of a kind. I was fortunate to and grateful to be one of his friends. He was wicked smart and crazy fun. There is a void in the vortex. We love you Tom! See you on the other side my friend.
All so TRUE what a great guy. I will miss him dearly.😇🙏💖🐾🐾🐾💝
Thank You Pat for such a great tribute to Tom!
He was definitely one of a kind! He Always made me feel important in his life. And I felt like I was the only one in the room when we spoke. He was so attentive and wanted to know everything about me and Josh and wanted to know all the happenings in my life. He always told me I was a special lady. He was so special him self! He had that gift to make people feel loved and cared for and He always let us know we "mattered " to him! That was his gift! He had along with many gift of an incredible man with the biggest heart. He never held back in any conversations. I loved our time and conversations!!! There was never a dull moment with Tom! He will be missed by me and many! We had a great celebration at his house. His friends were by his side for Support and Love to the end! And they continue to carry on his Legacy at his home!