LINCOLNVILLE—Author and columnist Tom J. Sadowski died June 16, 2021, at his home in Lincolnville. The author of the “Just Saying’” columns for The Free Press had just finished the final copyedited files of the book and sent them back to the publisher the week before he passed away.
For any author to be so close to the goal of publication and not able to complete it, is heartbreaking. Sadowski had the entire manuscript done, copyedited, and ready for print. With the assistance of his wife, Janis Kay, and friends, Sadowski got his final book published posthumously.
His long-time friend Jimmie Froehlich, whom Sadowski met in Alaska, where Froehlich still lives, helped Sadowski pare down some 500 columns to 100 columns for the book.
“Tom and I met and shared a photo and art studio in Anchorage, Alaska in the early ‘80s,” said Froehlich. “We also worked for film and television companies in a variety of capacities. We made a short humorous film about trailer life in Anchorage titled Trailer Court and produced a collection of about 40 satirical black and white postcards making fun of Alaska.”
That shared sense of humor bonded the two friends. “Tom wrote columns about a bewildering array of subjects, most of which he presented in his folksy, yet charming fashion, much like the man himself,” said Froehlich. “I enjoyed his columns often. When he said he wanted to publish them, he asked me to help him decide which columns to select for a book. I did so by rereading most of his columns and making comments and suggestions for the book. We spoke often on the phone and sent ideas back and forth over the previous year. I felt flattered that he wanted my opinion.”
“For the most part Tom designed the entire scope of the book himself, which just shows how incredible he was as a person,” said Maine Author Publishing Publishing Coordinator Christina Kosch.
Lincolnville author Elizabeth Hand served as a sounding board for the nuts and bolts of the publishing process. “Janis was the one to spearhead the whole process of getting the book to publication,” said Hand. “All I did is proofread the final galleys to see if there were any typos. When I read the final manuscript it was just perfect—not one error. As an author, it’s the only time I’ve seen that in my career in my own books or anyone else’s.”
“The day Tom told me he mailed that final copyedited galley back to the publisher, it was just a sense of completeness for him,” said Kay. “I’m happy that his readers get to have an actual book in their hands, rather than have to look up one of his past columns. I was happy he had it done.”
“Without those final files, which was exceptionally helpful, it would have been a long time before we would have had something feasible and in our hands,” said Kosch.
Sadowski’s memorial also served as a book launch.
“At his memorial, which was a wonderful moving laughter-and tear-filled event, the books were available for people who’d pre-ordered them and for general sale,” said Hand. “There were so many people who came up to the table where we were selling the books who knew Tom through the columns. Some people who spoke at the memorial who were mentioned in his columns. Tom touched so many people through those columns and with his brilliance, humor, and knowledge. It was wonderful to see how many people were there to pay tribute to him, but also the fact that they could share in this experience with this book.”
Copies of Sadowski's book can be found at The Red Cottage in Lincolnville Center.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com