You know those rare moments when you feel in the presence of something or someone special? The few times I talked and visited with the late Judge Tom Toepfer I got that feeling.
Highly intelligent, insightful, Tom was above all a humanist: He wanted what was best for all people. He cared, and he worked to the end to provide the best outcomes for all.
I was introduced to Tom through my wife Debby (Davidson), an old Hays High buddy of the judge. She and others have told me that even back at school Tom had special qualities that people looked up to and admired.
Later, he'd email terrific photos of Kansas -- storms brewing, ice hanging off lines and other scenes of beauty. Tom was also a man full of wonder.
When we'd ask about U.S. politics Tom would despair at those who were unreasonable and obstructionist.
But he would always end his emails on an optimistic note: The pendulum would swing back; we can't continue to be this selfish.
So I salute my fellow Kansans for electing such a great man, and we send our heartfelt condolences to Tom's family. It was a privilege to know someone as special as Tom.
Mark Paskal, Wamberal, New South Wales, Australia