Home  What is SOH?  Our Symbol  Mission Statement  Services   History  Virtual Tour  Calendar  Driving
Newsletter  Contact Our Staff  You Can Help  Prayer Request  Hope & Humor  Benefactors
Patrons   Article Index Retreats 

Salute to the 'Colonel'
(Excerpt from the
October 2001 Words of Hope Newsletter)

By Marilyn Connolly

Tom Gilbert Jr. recently retired as the first Editor of the SOH newsletter, Words of Hope. For five years he faithfully gathered (and reminded and rewrote) articles and arranged them artfully and on time, took them to the printer, delivered them to SOH and then helped to tape and ready them for mailing. He updated our mailing arrangement with bar codes and labels and in general made it possible for us to have a newsletter. For the last three years he has also set up and managed our web site that can potentially reach people all over the world. In fact we have received contributions from people who have learned about us on the web site. Donna Cermak thinks that Tom really evangelized through the web site. "His devotion to SOH and strong belief in the mission is evidenced by all of his hard work."

During his career in the Air Force, Tom was a B58 and F4 hot jet pilot. Tom was a manager for the Air Force and the State of Oklahoma. After he retired as a full colonel he worked as a consultant and taught at Donnelly College and Kansas City Community College. Tom and his wife Jean celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary this year. They have three children: Leslie, Tom III and Doug, they also have four grandchildren.

Tom and Jean met Father Dennis, Gary Schumann and Willie Etta Jennings when they were members of Our Lady and St. Rose Parish in Kansas City, KS where Tom was a lector. They were in charge of the Catechumenate program for several years and offered other information classes. They also regularly attended daily 5:00 Mass and the associated prayer group and were present at the early planning of SOH and prayer meetings at St. Mary-St. Anthony Church. Tom helped to write the original proposal to establish SOH and Jean is still a committed prayer warrior. Gary described Tom as very organized.

 Tom helped Gary to organize his thinking about the data Gary is assembling for the resource file. Willie Etta said that "Tom appears to be very stiff but he really isnít when you get to know him. He is actually jolly with a keen sense of humor. He is capable in whatever he does. He shows his military background in his demeanor and the way he carries himself and the way he wants things to be done. He is a very generous person."

Bernadine also noted Tomís military ways when she said, "If youíve enjoyed the newsletter as much as I have, you can thank the ĎGeneral.í He can be difficult to work for, but he puts out an excellent product. He will be a hard act to follow." Jeff Seib expressed the great value of Tomís work over the years when he said, "It will take five people to do what Tom has been doing by himself." (At present we have two editors of the newsletter and three people who have volunteered to help Jeff Seib with the web site.) Marilyn Connolly found Tom was very fair, co-operative and forgiving except about the newsletter deadline. "He had to get the finished product to the printer on time and he had good boundaries to enable him to get this done. He always said that he was only the editor and he didnít write articles, but sometimes he did write articles and put someone elseís name on them. And he did all the boxes, wish lists and was so creative with the back page. I hope that we can be as efficient, capable and creative."

Father Dennis said that "Tom is a man of deep faith, generosity and perseverance. His love for his family is very evident. Besides being careful to cover events in the newsletter and on the web, Tom kept track of the number of Ďhitsí on the web site. He was always pleased when he needed to order a larger number of newsletters. Tom really enjoyed seeing progress at SOH as well as ministers and people of different faiths together at SOH.  Sometimes Tom pitched in on work day even when he didnít feel well and was in pain."  When Father Dennis noticed Tomís attention to details, and his faithfulness to attend Pastoral Council meetings, Tom was asked to be our legal advisor. Tom Schwarzenberger describes Tom as "always listening, reflecting and giving sound advice."

All of us at Sanctuary of Hope are grateful for Tomís many efforts. We look forward to spending with him in the future and ask a blessing on Tom Gilbert Junior and his family. Well done good and faithful servant!




For more information about us, please contact:
  Sanctuary Of Hope, 2601 Ridge Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66102-4617
 Phone:  (913)321-HOPE (321-4673)                      Fax: (913) 321-4321

We are grateful to Tom Gilbert, the original webmaster  of this site, 
whose effort of love in the beginning, claimed this holy ground in the wilderness of cyber-space.

For comments or questions regarding this web site, please contact the  Webmaster

Copyright © 1999 [Sanctuary Of Hope]. All rights reserved.
Revised: June 01, 2006