Thomas Archibald Fredenburg, who loved reading other people's obituaries, died on Monday, May 27th, 2019, surrounded by family and friends. Tom brought life, energy, and a spirit of social justice to all of the communities he touched.
Tom was born on April 19, 1951, in upstate New York, to Howard Fredenburg and Elizabeth (Freeman) Fredenburg. He was an avid athlete in his hometown of Cato, New York, playing baseball, basketball, and running cross-country. He attended Oberlin College, where he joined the hippie counterculture and rode with friends in the back of U-Hauls to protests against the Vietnam War.
At Oberlin, Tom met Hilary Thomson, whom he would marry several years later. They spent two years in Huntington, WV, where Tom earned a Master's in Social Work. After deciding that he could do more good with a law degree, Tom studied at Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire. Tom and Hilary lived in a tent in a campground when they first moved to Concord, and Tom drove a school bus.
Tom's motivation was his love for people, and the guiding principle of all of his projects was that they brought people together. His deep respect and compassion for vulnerable people was part of his professional work as a legal services attorney, and also motivated his other projects. He spent many years at New Hampshire Legal Assistance, representing clients and working on litigation that impacted prison conditions and housing rights.
Later, Tom converted properties into affordable housing in Concord. He recently partnered with the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness to convert a large property on North Main Street into a resource center for the homeless.
Tom also found and built community in Concord through sports, playing basketball in the men's league and coaching innumerable baseball and softball teams. Tom believed that sports gave people an opportunity to become their best selves, and a community the opportunity to come together.
Tom loved music, and sang with various musical groups throughout his life. He sang with the choir at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, and helped found its Wholly Rollers, a men's gospel band. The Wholly Rollers frequently played at fundraisers, including a peace rally at the state house.
In later years, Tom could often be found at the end of a day, having a drink on the dock, contemplating the view of Snow Pond. Even though he had considered all the facts, Tom Fredenburg chose to be joyful.
He is survived by his wife, Hilary Thomson, his two children, Angus Fredenburg and Maddie Thomson, and his three brothers: John Fredenburg, Hugh Fredenburg, and Ross Fredenburg.
A celebration of his life is planned for June 8th at 2 pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, New Hampshire, at 274 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH 03301, to which all are welcome.
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