I believe I first met my friend Tommy Ogle when Rez Band was playing
in his area -New Orleans, during Mardi Gras.
I frankly cannot remember when I last cried so much over a friend
leaving this world.
In that Tommy was a friend to so many I suspect I’m not alone in this.
God has enriched my life with a huge extended family via years of
travel, recording and interaction. Due to these I’ve met a lot of
kind, talented, funny and truly godly people.
Tommy was in the rare percentage of that group because he bore what
apostle Paul called the “fruit of the Spirit” (love, joy, patience,
kindness to name a few) in a near-constant state.
The man had his moments as all of us do, but I rarely heard him speak
ill of anyone or show up to work late or not be the first to pitch in
to help those around him. He did so with grace and kindness.
As he and his sweet wife Rebecca had come yearly to our Cornerstone
Festival driving up from their home in Paris, Tennessee so we got to
know one another well.
He volunteered and worked long hours on the electrician’s crew each
festival coming up several days in advance to do it.
Tommy was an accomplished musician, had served as an elder in his
church as well as worship leader also writing brilliant songs and
performing or leading them via guitar and on his own hand made banjos!
He also played a great upright bass.
When I began a leadership forum at the fest Tommy attended and I lost
count of the times we were blessed by the depth and wisdom of his
humble, sage comments as deeper issues were discussed.
As that group met often online and in many face-to-face gatherings,
these leaders (like myself, all characters but with shared heart for
God, truth and fellowship) like myself found Tommy was a pleasure to
His wry Southern style along with the fact he was an accomplished
carpenter and painter made him a blessing to many.
At Cstone, the fact he was also a deep fried turkey expert meant year
after year he made anyone who hung out at his campsite a special
He and Rebecca always made us feel welcome, truly like family.
Tommy loved to hunt, often using the old Civil War black powder
muzzleloaders, was an excellent shot (often contest winner or close to
it) with bow and arrow and created many knives and sheaths from raw
He brought his music and witness of Jesus to Civil War re-enactments.
As time passed he battled a number of health issues, the last of these
Tommy had two memorial services. Myself and other of his friends were
at the first along with Tommy playing many of his songs and sharing
stories of how our lives had all been enriched by this kind, gracious
He had decided that cancer might take him fairly soon so why not be
present at his own memorial service in order to hear it because he
wouldn’t be there after he’d died?!
This was very Tommy. And not a bad idea either! That evening the
church in Paris was packed.
Stories, laughter, tears and amazingly gifted musical friends such as
Dan Knowles and many family members honored this gift of God called
They did it all again recently when he had passed.
Suffering is plain hard. Yet Paul’s words ring in my head now- “To
live is Christ and to die is gain”.
For those who did not know Tommy or do not know the risen Jesus it may
make no sense at all, but to so many of us there is no more important
truth than the Good News of Christ.
I cry as I write these words- I was able to chat and pray with my
brother Tommy several times prior to his graduation… lastly about
three hours prior to his homegoing.
We always said: not “Goodbye” but “See you later”.
A few years ago I was blessed when he asked me to do a bit on his
wonderful “Sparrow” cd. My personal favorite song and one I have led
worship with many times is “Live in Me”.
I want Tommy to have the last word here. For my friend, mentor,
brother in Christ whom I love and deeply miss:
Well done dear friend. You have finished the race. I will absolutely see you later.
LIVE IN ME
If You would live in me Oh Lord
My heart a dwelling place for You
A temple for Your holy flame
So I can come before Your throne
And in You I am justified
To be a living sacrifice
Make me Lord, more like You
Teach me Lord, I pray
Give me Lord, a heart for You
Come live in me, today
Tommy’s “Sparrow” cd: http://www.grrrrecords.com/tommyogle.cfm
Tommy’s MySpace site: https://www.myspace.com/tommyjogle
Tommy’s Shoutlife site: http://www.shoutlife.com/tommyogle