Our hearts are heavy today, having learned of the passing yesterday morning of our beloved colleague, Public Knowledge Staff Attorney Adam Thomas. Adam was a rare individual in this town – willing to take on any task no matter how small, always upbeat, eager for feedback be it positive or negative. But what really set Adam apart was his courage. Just 30 years old and thrice afflicted with Medulloblastoma – a rare and highly malignant form of brain cancer – he fought and beat it each time, until it returned a fourth time just a few weeks ago with a force too strong to overcome.
Adam was a big guy – probably six feet four or five, and had a smile about as wide. I remember seeing him at World’s Fair Use Day this past January some 4 months after the second recurrence of the cancer and surgery (he would later have an experimental stem cell transplant). He had lost his hair and a lot of weight, but his smile and embrace upon seeing his PK and other colleagues at the event was as strong as ever.
Adam would say that being a Public Knowledge staff attorney was his dream job, and when he said it, you knew that came from his heart. He was extraordinarily dedicated to the work we do and to the public interest.
Adam’s last day with Public Knowledge was August 5. In his typically jovial fashion, he sent us all an email titled “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.” He wrote:
Everyone at PK,
I have greatly enjoyed my time here. It has been a learning experience and an opportunity to interact with others passionate about making space for the public interest. Win, lose or draw in any particular fight, be proud of what you accomplish.
All the best,
Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Adam’s wife Katie Strumpf, his father and his family. We know that through your pain, you are proud of what Adam accomplished in his short but wonderful life. We will miss him.
The Public Knowledge Staff