Thomas Filter

Thomas Filter

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Thomas Joseph Filter passed away on July 5, 2018 at the age of 66.  He was surrounded by family.

He was born on July 17, 1951 in Chicago to Rose Boland Filter and Patrick Stephen Filter.  He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Judith Filter; siblings Patrick Filter, Maureen Filter Nolan (Thomas), John Filter (Janet), Siobhan Conroy, and Kevin Filter; Judie’s siblings; dear friends Pete Hughesdon and Matt Perlow; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.  He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Rosemary Larkin (survived by James), and brother Domingo Trujillo (survived by Amanda).

Tom began his art career with a black crayon at the age of four.  Later in life, he managed the Missouri summer with bright Chuck Taylors and sweat-dabbing bandanas.  His deep hug and squinting laugh brought warmth to Northern winters.

Tom graduated from Mount Carmel High School on Chicago’s South Side in 1969, afterward moving to St. Paul where he attended the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota.  His time in St. Paul was marked by lasting friendships and a series of jobs, including a stint in the North Star Steel Mill. In 1979, Tom moved back to Chicago where he spent seven years with the Cook County Sherriff’s Office, in the jail, in gang intelligence, and as an addiction counselor.

He moved to St. Louis on a whim in 1988.  He was a manager for the US Census Bureau and later the Missouri Division of Youth Services, concluding his career with the Saint Louis Public Schools.  It was in St. Louis that Tom met and married Judie, his friend, partner, and the love of his life.

Tom’s art brought wild life to paper, clay, wood, and any medium that caught his eye. The stylized jack-o-lanterns and iconic Christmas card collages remained on porches and refrigerator doors for far longer than convention might permit.  His ceramic monsters betrayed a playful if smirking nature. His knot-ridden walking sticks remind us of the great untapped beauty lurking in the imperfect.

Tom Filter lived loudly.  He would hold court at his local pub, regaling friends with autobiographical half-truths and worrisome whole-truths.  So a celebration of life will take place there—the Schlafly Tap Room at 2100 Locust Street—from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, what would have been Tom’s 67th birthday.

Memorial contributions may be made to Belize 2020, c/o The Jesuits, 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO  63108. His family wishes to extend special thanks to the medical and professional staffs at Saint Louis University Hospital.

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  1. Jeanne Walsh Dinker says:

    Hello old friend Judie,

    Mary Morini sent me the news of Tom’s passing. I never knew him, of course, but I surely wish I had…he sounded like a wonderful guy, and a real character 🙂 I’m terribly sorry for your loss, Judie.

    Love from your Ursuline buddy,

    Jeanne (Walsh) Dinker

  2. Chris Berlinger says:

    Dear Judie:

    I am so sad to hear about Tom. I never
    knew those beautiful Christmas cards
    were the result of his artistic talent.
    Thinking of you at this time.

    Chris Berlinger

  3. Karenlindsey says:

    Judie I Karen and Ray is sorry to hear about to and he will be missed and I Karen and Ray will be there for you anytime you need me and Ray love you Ray’s phone number is 3145748212

  4. Chris Faerber says:

    I think it was my second week as a brewer at the Tap Room, October 1999, when I first plopped myself down at the bar for a shift beer. You see, I started my job there and then with a terrible head cold. I think it was a matter of minutes, but at most a partial pint into introducing myself around, that this man with a big voice had managed to identify what we had in common: the south side of Chicago. Of course, we had alot more in common as conversations took place over the years, but from that day on we were friends, all the way through law school and beyond. I’m pretty sure I returned the book he loaned me, courtroom 302. I will miss him greatly.