Here’s a link to the podcast.
I guess I can say something now because Wikipedia has made it official. The extraordinary Tom Hornbein died early yesterday. He was a remarkable man – and not just because of his mountaineering feats, but because of his beautiful heart and soul. His decades-long friendship with my dad, Dee Molenaar – and his outreach to Dad in his last years – meant so much to us.
The last time he and Dad were together in the person was in April 2018. Jim Wickwire, Bill Sumner and Tom all visited Dad at his adult family home, and brought a book about K2 with them. Dad and his mountaineering buddies looked through the photos in the book and shared memories of mountains climbed. I was able to be there with all of them that day, too – it was an amazing experience to be sharing the same space with all these mountain legends.
Tom called Dad on Dad’s 100th birthday a few months later to wish him a happy day. It was touching to watch these two old friends talk to each other. We borrowed someone’s iphone so Dad could see Tom’s face and Tom could see his face. I think they knew, as they were talking, that this was probably the last conversation they would ever have with each other.
Tom made the world a better place – through his work as a medical doctor, as a mountaineer, and as a friend. I will miss seeing his emails pop up in my inbox and I will miss hearing his voice on the phone. I will miss knowing he’s here on the planet with us.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell
Pop made the front page of the Skagit Valley Herald today for winning the Mountaineers Lifetime Achievement Award.
And I want to take a moment here to share some of the many reasons I feel blessed to have this man for my father. I was born before Title IX: “Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: ‘No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.'” (www.ncaa.org) It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that my school finally got a girls’ track team and I was able to high jump on my school’s team. But my dad introduced me to high jumping long before that. He built a little high jump for me when I was a youngster, and rooted for me as we had our own track meet in the backyard. He also taught me how to ski; led me up Mount Rainier, Baker, Adams, and Hood; took me on my first little rock scramble (Pinnacle Peak) when I was four years old; supported me in my university education and wrote me encouraging notes throughout my teaching career – he was always proud of me as a teacher, and he’s proud of me now for running for school board. He’s never in any way limited me because I was a female.
And this was a man who was born in 1918 – two years before women even had the right to vote!