Sunday, May 29, 2016

Antiquarium's Tom Rudloff dead at 76; Omaha institution a pillar of support for artists and musicians

Rudloff, circa 1970s; photo via estate of David Sink. Sink, who
passed away in 2012, once drolly suggested that Rudloff install
a huge neon sign atop the Antiquarium, alternately flashing the
words QUAINT BOOKSTORE
Update 4: Video of Tom's memorial service in Omaha has been added to the bottom of this post. A Brownville memorial celebrating Tom's life will be held Sunday, August 18th at his store there at 309 Water St., at 1 pm. It is a potluck.
Update 3: There WILL be a memorial service for Thomas F. Rudloff at John A. Gentleman Mortuary at 1010 N 72nd St. in Omaha on Friday, June 3, 2016.
     Family will receive friends two hours earlier than previously announced, starting at 2, not 4 pm. Service to begin at 5 pm. 
No reception will be held on June 3.
     A second memorial service, followed by a reception, will be held in Brownville, NE, at a later date, TBD.
     We'll post that information as soon as we receive it.


Several close friends of Tom Rudloff, cofounder, with his sister, Judy, of Omaha's Antiquarium Bookstore, have informed AKSARBENT that he passed away this morning of heart failure following pneumonia contracted after chemotherapy for a third bout with cancer.
     His used bookstore opened in 1969 in what is now downtown's Eugene Leahy Mall, moving later to 1215 Harney on the northern edge of Omaha's Old Market to make room for the mall, and, in 2006, was moved to an empty school in  Brownville, Nebraska.
     The Antiquarium's huge stock of used books beckoned generations of Omahans and was augmented by a second-floor art gallery named for sculptor Bill Farmer.
     The store's record shop grew to fill the building's basement. Dave Sink, its manager, became a prime behind-the-scenes mover and local legend in his own right in the development of Omaha as a center of Indie Rock and in the rise of such acts as Simon Joyner, Bright Eyes and the brilliant solo career of Conor Oberst.
     After building the store's record shop into a formidable attraction in its own right, Sink passed away in January, 2012.
     In the 1970s, the Antiquarium, Rudloff, and Omaha itself were the benefactors of an Eastern Airlines "Wings of Man' radio commercial narrated by celebrated film director Orson Welles.
     AKSARBENT was passed a cassette tape of the ad years ago and added the following video (in which Welles' name is misspelled in a subtitle):



At 2:06:55 in the video below, Rudloff explains how Young & Rubican, Eastern Airline's ad agency, picked the Antiquarium to be featured in its nationwide radio ads and how it took fifteen years for him to be paid for the release he signed for appearing in the advertisement.

     In 2014, the son of the late Luther Jones, Atiim, perceptively interviewed Rudloff over the course of two hours about the history of his bookstore and art gallery.


     Some high points from the interview, which doesn't really get started until the 14:44 mark, include Rudloff explaining why he moved the Antiquarium to Brownville, how he fell into the book business, the fact that he started the Farmer gallery to save Bill Farmer's art from Farmer himself, and why he decided not to become a priest.
     Here's how he wanted to be remembered:
You know, I'm not sure that my view of how I want to be remembered is more important than how people choose to remember me. And for that reason, I'm not sure that I have an answer to that. Obviously there's none of us that does not want to be liked. And always, it comes down to what point do we choose not to do x, y and z even though they're not going to like us when we don't do x, y and z. I think, because of my enormous admiration for Bill [sculptor Farmer] and [wife] Marge, I think what I would probably have to say — and I'm not giving this full throat — I would like to say that I would like to be remembered as someone who at least tried to accept people the way they were.
A Personal Aside:
     AKSARBENT has patronized the Antiquarium for 30 years and has spent many happy hours there listening to the discourse over art, politics, books, and more politics presided over by the erudite Rudloff who spoke English, French, German and Spanish. Sports and music were the province of the downstairs record shop kingdom, ruled by the ascerbically witty Sink, a devotee not only of popular music, but of baseball lore and history, and a business mentor to many local bands, whose efforts he somehow was able to persuade John Peel to play on the BBC's Radio 1 "Sessions" broadcasts that Peel hosted.
     As for Rudloff, music was not his first, second, third, or fourth love. Once during a game of "Who am I?" AKSARBENT chose Renee Fleming, causing a stumped Tom to say, "Well, who ever heard of HER?" and, in response, a book-browsing woman called out from the second floor stacks: "I HAVE!"
     Of the thousands of posts AKSARBENT has made, this is by far our most reluctant effort, as the death which necessitated it has made our world smaller and less joyful. Most of the friends and acquaintances we made in Omaha since moving here from Lincoln in the late 1980s were of people met at the Antiquarium or their friends. It would be impossible for us to estimate the synergies forged, relationships born, and art, political and entrepreneurial alliances made at Tom's "business."
     He was socialist in outlook, not just politically, but personally: his lifelong generosity kept the wolf from the doors of many people who had nowhere else to turn.
     He never bought any goods or services from a big box store if he could get them from someone he knew personally, even if it was more expensive that way. The implicit lesson — keep your money local; support your friends and community — is one he underscored every day of his life, always by example rather by pontificating, though he never shied from the latter on other subjects.
     If you have an anecdote about Tom or a memory of the Antiquarium, please share it below in the comments (allow up to 24 hours for your comment to appear, pending review by our obscenity/libel/spam gatekeepers).
     Below: Memorial service for Tom held June 3rd, 2016 in Omaha.





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58 comments:

  1. I was 12 the first time I stepped in the Antiquarium. A store with books books and more books. I visited every time I went downtown introducing as many new comers as I could. I loved the art displays... Music, books, and when you thought your found all the books There were stairs, corners, and more books. If you tired of browsing there was chess guitars and lively conversations as sales always seemed secondary or even tertiary. RIP Tom your inspiration and heart will be missed.

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  2. Thank you for this treasure-chest of information about an Omaha Icon....I was one of the many drifters (1976), who Tom took under his broad wings, supplying my cultural pursuits with an address (1215 Harney by the Mall) and an office deep in the labyrinth of book shelves from which my wife Linda Garcia and I began what has become an extensive collection of books on the Spanish Presence in the Americas. We visited him in Brownsville and had an opportunity of purveying his materials that included art works by Bill Farmer. My 39 year exile here in Omaha was made tolerable by this beautiful human being whose association I will treasure deeply......

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  3. this is a nice and well-written article. but the small font size, strange text color, and contrasting background color make this unnecessarily hard to read. and it's not attractive to look at.

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    1. You can assign your own font and font size to a web page. To quote Tom Rudloff "ignorance is curable". If you read up on your browser you`ll find out its not hard to specify font and size for all pages as the default.

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    2. If you think this blog is unattractive, you should see how time has ravaged the appearance of its owner!

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  4. I took my current hubby to the Antiquarium on our first date in 2005. We are both book and music lovers and spent at least an hour at the store. We had both been to it separately in the past, but that day is special to us. You will be missed Tom, thank you for being part of my love story.

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  5. Tom was a great man, one of the most intelligent people I have ever met but he had a great sense of humor, No matter what time of day it was he would always say good morning.He told some of the most amazing stories, and just sitting around chatting and having coffee was part of the experience of a visit to the bookstore, Life got busy for me and I never got the chance to visit the Brownsville store. Very sad loss.

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  6. My dad has been friends with Tom for decades and I grew up with weekly trips into his bookstore. He was a wonderful, brilliant, kind man and will be so missed.

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  7. One of his biggest regrets in life was that when he was in the Redemptorist seminary he was told to take down a Martin Luther King poster he had put up in his cell, and eventually complied because of lots of pressure.

    If you asked him if someone looked like someone else he‘d often say 'two arms,two legs, practically twins!'

    There was a homeless woman named Carol that was very frightened of the whole world, but men in particular. If Tom could spot her coming up the street checking around parking meters for dropped change, he'd run in the store get a bunch of quarters, throw them around the meters and get out of site.

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  8. Oh, so many Antiquarium stories!

    You probably remember that it was Dave Sink's fault I got involved with the Antiquarium in the first place--I was in an editing class that Dave taught at the time, and he was always talking about the store, and Tom.

    Did you ever stay up late and play all-night Scrabble with us, sometimes on the Super Scrabble board (4 boards photocopied and taped together, and letters more or less proportionally scraped together from old Scrabble sets), and then walked up to Country Bob's afterwards? And the people who came through the door, day or night, ranged from kids to college professors, from people who worked downtown to people who panhandled downtown. Sane or not-so-much, liberal or conservative, everyone was welcome.

    If Tom trusted you, you sometimes found yourself behind the register or watching the store while he got a rare moment to step out for awhile. I still remember the day he got the call his mother died--I watched the store that day until he finally was able to come back hours later. He didn't have to ask. He knew I would do it.

    And the Customer Appreciation Party every year was legendary. I used to joke that if someone wanted to get rid of every liberal and progressive in town, all they needed to do was wait for December and drop a bomb on the bookstore the night of the party.

    I'm only scratching the surface of what I remember about Tom and the bookstore. Thank goodness we have our memories.

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    1. Yes! The quadruple scrabble board is one of my favorite memories-- with Dave Sink, David Olewine, Guy Sager, etc where the hilarity of the word was more important than the point value. Also, chess and cribbage in the back, and constant punning and smart-assing like this:
      Tom to customer: Would you like a cup of coffee?
      Customer: No, no thanks.
      Tom: Oh, so you've heard about our coffee!
      The Antiquarium, thanks to Tom's hospitality, was the best of Omaha, so important to me.

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    2. I so miss those days!
      I feel SO fourtunate to have been raised at he bookstore.

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  9. I remember the first words we spoke to each other - and I always love him with all my heart ~ Grace

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  10. oh yes - guten nacht, boa noite, À tout à l'heure !

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  11. I can honestly say my life as an activist started 25 years ago, because of and at the Antiquarium. Every cool and amazing thing in this world that I found had roots there.

    A place, a person, a community like this is so rare and special. What a legacy to leave. Lots of love as you cross into the next world.

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  12. I loved that place. You never knew what you'd find or who you'd see there.
    Tom was always there sitting in his chair speaking to someone. He'd always greet you with a smile and a hello.

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  13. I've been a member of the theatre company in Brownville for the past three years and in 2015 I went in to buy several scripts. When I checked out he asked me if I could drive him to the post office so he could deliver a package because he was unable to make the walk in his condition. I felt so bad having to say I couldn't since I had simply walked there from the theatre and had no car. I told him I'd gladly take the package down for him and he gave me my books for the price of the postage, which was a fraction of what the books were worth. He was a wonderful human being and those of us at the theatre will miss him greatly.

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  14. Friday or Saturday nights almost always brought a trip to the Old Market and of course we had to head to the Antiquarium. When I was in high school, I had a passion for languages, but the school where I went told my mother that I was too stupid to take a foreign language, and that's where it stopped...Until I discovered the Antiquarium and Tom. I found books about French and books in French and the more my knowledge of French increased, the more Tom would converse with me in French. It was thanks to this encouragement from Tom, that I returned to the University and majored in French and also became a student at l'Universite Laval in Quebec City. THANKS Tom for your encouragement !!!

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  15. One of my favorite places as a teenager with a love of books and music but no money. Probably wouldn't be the same person if not for this outlet of my curiosity.
    Thank you Tom.

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  16. Spent many, many days and weekends there playing chess, reading and chatting with him in the 80's. A lot of good times and a lot of political discussions... We may have been polar opposites politically, but we always had fun debating..

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  17. Beyond sad to hear that Tom Rudloff has died. He owned and operated The Antiquarium bookstore, in various locations, for close to 50 years. It was the first place I found old comics (1970, probably less than a year after it opened). My Mom would usually take me there, and she and Tom would talk and drink coffee as I obsessively decided which comics to buy in my budget. In the 80s, it was still a favorite place to go for books and/or records, and visit with Tom. I only recently (2014) visited the shop in Brownville (twice) and it was very much the same, wonderful feeling to talk with Tom, and browse his beautiful new location. Last year had a lot of craziness, so I didn't get out there...I was hoping to get back this summer or fall. Thank you for the many great memories you added to my life, Tom. R.I.P.

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  18. James A. ThorsonMay 30, 2016 at 12:21 AM

    Tom was a true Renaissance man, a gentle man, and someone who cared about the common weal. He will be missed.

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  19. As a kid my family lived in Aurora and would come to Omaha to visit friends who live in a loft in the same building as the Antiquarian. Us kids would spend our afternoon hang out exploring the quaint book store, marveling the art work, playing pool and chatting with Tom. In my teens we moved to Bellevue and I became involved a Peace group that met a few times at the Antiquarium. So many fond and impactful memories in the space created by Tom. Thank you for the legacy of influence and knowledge Tom.

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  20. Great guy and a solid gem of the best part of Omaha. Many will never forget his kind and welcoming ways late night, sitting in the window next to a reading lamp & cat, always welcoming with a smile, kind words of late night wisdom & a warm beverage��������

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  21. My friend, Dale Dohse (www.bygonetimes.weebly.com), often had dealings with The Antiquarium, either buying or selling. I think he may have even donated some time there. I have fond memories of browsing through one of the most memorable icons of shopping history in the Omaha area. ~Nancy Larson-Lenz

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  22. There are so many great Tom stories. It is difficult to think he is gone. Over a decade ago, I was sheparding bestselling author Thomas Frank around Nebraska, and said, 'I know you like books, you have to experience the Antiquarium.' It was a bit after opening time on a Sunday. We found a parking spot near Homers, and then as we rounded the corner, we ran into -- Tom! 'Tom! We were heading for your shop! It opens at noon, right?' 'Hey, yeah, well, no, we'er heading to breakfast right now - but here's the keys! We'll be back in an hour or so!' And off he went! Thomas Frank was astounded, 'Wow, you two must be really good friends! He really trusts you!' I said, 'I doubt he could pick me out of a lineup. He certainly never knew my name. And yes, he does trust me. And everyone else, too. He would have given you the keys, and he has no idea who you are.' Rest in Peace Tom. You made Omaha a better place.

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  23. The only man and place that was a sanctuary to all. Almost a glimpse of utopia, where all were respected. The only place that accepted people, for whom they were. I have traveled the world, never seen or found anything like it since.

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  24. One if a kind man. He created the last sanctuary of free thought and discourse in the USA. He was always balanced and kept things civil, yet lively.

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  25. I met Tom in 1980, the year I met my "happily ever after", Bernie Mabon. they were good friends. Tom helped Bernie at a time in her life when she was desperately ill and homeless. He gave her a spot in that beautiful store and she lived among the books and healed. She and I split up for 8 years and it was Tom I went to to find Bernie again. He gladly gave me her number. He said he remembered me from the one time we met cos he had never seen Bernie so happy. so you see Tom was directly responsible for our reunion and the 29 years we have been back together.We love you Tom.

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  26. I loved the Antiquarium. Went there many times through my life. But it wasn't the books that fascinated me. It was the people and the building. While the rest of my group were going thru the book I was either up in the art gallery or looking up the stairs to the next floor wondering what the rest of the building looked like. That building had so many interesting aspects of it that all I wanted to do was explore. But I didn't because it wasn't my building. If I wasn't in the art gallery I was sitting in an out of the way spot listening to the people who hung out in the store. The conversations and debates and the off the wall silliness were the best part. Anyone was welcome to join in and I don't think there was any subject taboo. I was heartbroken when the store closed and so mad when when they made it into apartments ( yes I know condos. But condos are just over priced apartments). Tom may you have long conversations with old friends and new. May there be laughter and stillness where your beautiful soul has gone. And may there be plenty of books and music. Rest in paradise .

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  27. Wow! Knew this man for well over 35 years..he was the "godfather" to my daughter, my mentor, and a dear friend. There are probably a thousand stories I could share..but enough to say that he listened to me.

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  28. Such wonderful memories of the times I would take my 4 young sons to the Old Market. Tom always had time to talk to them, play chess with one of them. We would spend hours there. One time when I was there by myself, he asked me how and where my sons were, he remembered each of them and their favorite things, books and interests. Kind, gentle and a wonderful thoughtful conversationalist with such a great sense of humor. His Antiquarium Bookstore was such a haven for a "bookaholic". No way to describe the wonderful warm memories I have of my times in his wonderful bookstore and presence.

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  29. My connection to Tom was originally through my brother's comic book collection. He would spend hours there, after having walked from 35th and Harney to the 12th street location, every Saturday. I believe my brother was 12. He took me with him occasionally (I would have been 9), and I remember Tom sitting in a chair, slumped down, long legs crossed, with a huge smile and hello for us. Every. Time. He conversed with us about things adults probably didn't think we would know anything about. Grown ups didn't treat kids like Tom did. We were meaningful. Important in our own right, not just because we were someone's kids. My brother obviously greatly admired him. We both did. My mom occasionally drove us to the Antiquarium and thought he was very interesting as well.

    My brother died when he was 15, and Tom came to the funeral. It was surreal seeing him in a suit, and frankly, standing. My mother had been stoic for days--I had not seen her cry over him, but at the end of the funeral, graveside, she turned and saw Tom, and just lost it. Tom held her to his chest and just let her sob for what felt like forever before we all went back to the cars.

    It was difficult to go back to the Antiquarium after that--I felt my brother everywhere there--but the few times I did, Tom engaged me in meaningful conversation without it being tied to my brother, yet asked how my mother was holding up.

    I also remember going up to the art gallery for the first time when I was 12. When I came back downstairs, Tom asked, "So what do you think?"

    "Um, was everything vaginas? Cuz it looked kinda heavy in the labial lady bits arena."

    Tom laughed at that and agreed that, indeed it was, very labial.

    I took my first high school crush there, and I fell in love with him as we quietly alternately separated and came back together to show each other what the other had found. And there was a worn leather chair in one corner of the books where we sat together, I on his lap, and just read together.

    When we left, Tom wore a huge smile and he winked at me, as if he knew my heart had opened that day.

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    1. Hey Jenny I knew your brother he was older than me but always talked about comics me and Jeff Thoreson knew you from Jackson school I knew Tom since 1976 this man will be dearly missed

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  30. Ilene E BothwellMay 30, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    My daughter Katie introduced me to Tom and the Antiquarium when I visited her in Auburn, NE. It is her favorite place to be because of her love of books and her friendship with Tom. He made her feel so welcome when she first moved to the area two years ago. He invited her to bring her own coffee cup to put in the coffee cup cubby. He even reserved a space for her cup and labeled it for when she came next time. That was the beginning of a friendship that was precious to Katie and to me. The Antiquarium won't be the same without him, he will be missed but he will always be fondly remembered.

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  31. Without Tom and the Antiquarium I wouldn't be the person I am today, Skipping afternoon classes at Central to go hang out, smoke cigarettes and chat with the folks sitting in chairs up front, drinking coffee, listening. Or walking down after school to quietly browse until a new undiscovered treasure popped out at me and changed my life. The last time I saw him in Brownville he was kind enough to buy my friend walkers book that we were hustling while traveling the Midwest and later write walker to encourage him in his writing, ah man I will miss him greatly and am so grateful to have had him and all those life changing books, laughs, and conversations in my life.

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  32. I've run bookshops in Omaha for maybe 35 years, PageTurners, Adventures in Bookselling, NeverEnough Books, on and on...before that, I'd take the bus with a buddy from Way Out West to go into the Antiquarium, Keisers (such a grumpy gus owned that place)) Mostly Books on 10th, etc. I'd spend most of my time in the movies/music sections right inside the door. I remember once sneaking up up up the different levels into weirdland, onto musty, dark floors where nobody was ! In the basement, behind the stairs, was his 'lair'I could see a big chair sitting there and i think i peeked behind the draped curtains once. It scared me to run as fast as i could past the 'circle of socialists' to get to the comics in the basement. (this was long before there was music down there) Tom always offered me a cup of coffee but i thought those cups might never get washed because i never saw Tom walking around anyplace ! I remember when you bought a book from him it took forever to erase the pencil price because he wrote it in big florid numerals. I visited his space in Brownville twice; it was big and rambling and nobody else was ever there when i was. He did not believe in putting his inventory online, which probably kept him from big profits in Brownville but that was his 'way'. He once said to us, 'The problem with old books is...they're OLD..." I found out he had passed while i was actually IN Brownville today for the Flea Market. Very fitting ! I drove to the shop and the open signs were on display but the store was locked and dark. There was a pot of flowers in front of the shop door; i bet someone left those this morning. He was a big, gentle man.

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  33. Goodbye and Godspeed, old friend. Along with so many others, I miss you already.

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  34. Tom gave me a big start, I showed him some art work I'd done after I stopped working 2 jobs as a nurse, and the was home caring for an aunt with dementia, and 2 small grandchildren under 3 yrs. he gave me my first art show..during the Christmas season,it was a new beginning for me, I had many shows after in other places..but that was my first, and it was the last show at the Antiquarium..before he moved to Brownville, Tom had an incredibly loving kind , and giving spirit..you could literally feel this when near him..I have a piece of Harriett Tubman I showed then ..that I gave to Tom, but borrowed it back to show, he really liked that piece, he taught me a lot, he was an awesome mentor,person,being...Tom was the essence of L O V E, I am so much better for having known such a beautiful soul, How blessed I am to have been in the presence of such an incredibly intelligent ( but never looking down on anyone), open minded spirit, wish ,more people were as beautiful as Tom, last saw him Christmastime last year..met his lovely sister ( and I have that quilt for you), I also had met his brother Jerry years ago, a really loving family, that made me feel like I was more than I am..will greatly be missed, pray you're one of my guardians, love you, Your kindness allowed me to escape to some very beautiful places...even if only in my mind,methane you, owing so much to your kindness, thanks for everything,evance soash

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  35. Had a wonderful visit with him when I was at a writing residency in Nebraska City...he gave me a great deal on a Flannery O'Connor first edition because we had such a lively conversation. I found a copy of my first novel upstairs and signed it to Tom...he said he would read it, and a couple of weeks later he sent me a handwritten letter telling me what he thought about the book. Such a memorable man, such a memorable bookstore.

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  36. Oh, Thomas, you will be greatly missed... I type this between floods of childhood memories and tears. The Antiquarium was the most magical place and Thomas was the very well-equipped caretaker of that place. I believe the two lived within and as a result of each other, and this is what created that magic; the Antiquarium was the physical embodiment of Tom’s love affair not so much just with books, but with people. In the 1970s, my brother Jeff and I lived and grew up just next door, in a warehouse like Tom’s, but at home, we had to make our own magic. The Antiquarium was our playground, and Tom, our neighbor, babysitter, family. During my most formative childhood years, the Antiquarium was my home away from home. We played hide and seek in the whole building; I explored every inch, nook and cranny there. The dust of a million books and experiences, I breathed it all in, and its essence wove into the fibers, the essence of my being. I plunked out immature songs on the out of tune piano, imagining my first concert. I made friends with books and thoughts and cats and random strangers. I learned to converse with adults, to play chess, to dynamically use my brain and heart. At the Antiquarium, I had my first cup of coffee, my first comic book, and my first steps toward seeking to know who I am, to know life, learning, and love. I saved my quarters to buy bottles of soda in an old machine in the basement; the soda went so well with a comic on a Saturday afternoon. Under the register counter, he kept candy that he sold on the honor system; his trust taught me respect, honesty, equanimity. He was generous, open, forthright, compassionate, extremely intelligent, genius really, grounded, accepting, and always loving. His store overflowing with books mirrored his soul, overflowing with knowledge and stories and love and magic, all of it ancient, yet buzzing with the energy of the times. I remember the first time I heard the name Antiquarium, how I pondered and puzzled over such a word, even the name was magical. He read voraciously... periodicals, books and people... and he knew of the deeper wisdom that the sharing and interchange of both grants. I learned to never judge a book by its cover, that some of the best books with wisdom to offer, are the dilapidated ones that have been so loved; having seen so many years of experience, they no longer wear a cover. In the early 90s, my own grown-up artwork had a showing in the gallery, a very proud personal milestone for me... As the years meandered by, I saw the Antiquarium growing and changing too... new stairs, beautiful stained glass windows, the gallery and Bill Farmer’s collection, the music and comic store in the basement, the special collections area. Yet, the energy never shifted out of the bounds of Tom’s wondrous, gentle guiding light, and thus, remained true to its nature no matter how many years and books traveled through the front door.... I am a better person because of Thomas and his magical place, the Antiquarium. Thomas Rudloff, as you move barefoot among the stars, may you find more peace and joy and cats and coffee and great conversation from your armchair in the sky. You will forever be in my heart. I love you.

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  37. Tom Rudloff was one of the most interesting and intriguing people I have ever met. He really lived what he believed. He was a fair, honest man with more integrity than he probably realized. He truly was a breath of fresh air and ran an unspoken lighthouse to masses. He was unshakeable in his convictions and definitely a self-made man. The world lost another good one. Damnitt! He will be missed!I am grateful to have had him as a friend

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  38. I loved spending Friday evenings with Tom and the people he collected at the Antiquarium. Late nights playing Hearts until 2 or 4 am, cigarettes, coffee, books, music, and art. The best place to hang out and the best man to hang out with. He made everyone feel special. Good morning, Tom. RIP.

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  39. Tom was more than my friend, he was a understanding force where all working or not artisans considered him family. He gave all and never expected a return. He gave me personally a chance to create a glass mural for his store & was supportive throughout the 5 years it took me to complete. He tolerated my Latino self driven direction with lose women and love of life. I will a!ways be holding his memory in my heart and will dedicate a piece of my work in his memory so others might be given a small deliverance of his life who if in Mexico would be burriedin the "Cemetary of Heros". "Que viva Los ideales de Thomas Rudloff!!

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  40. I can't express how many times I made the hour trip from my home town to Omaha for no other goal then to frequent the Antiquariam, even after moving on to college I had to go back to that store each time I went home.

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  41. When I first moved to Omaha in 1975, I was exploring the Old Market and wandered into The Antiquarium, Tom invited me to sit down and have a cup of coffee, and made me feel at home in a new city. He had a gift of meeting people exactly where they were, with no expectations, and seemed to always be extremely pleased to see you. Over the years while I worked with the Nebraska Arts Council and Metro Arts, our paths crossed as Tom sponsored exhibits for Bill Farmer and others. Sometimes I would find an hour to join the conversation at the front of the store. Tom was a great man who shaped the character of Omaha.

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  42. The Antiquarium bookstore was one of my favorite places to hangout in Omaha. A place to soak up literature, philosophy, art, music...while drinking coffee. A cozy place where you felt welcome and accepted for who you are. A place to shoot the breeze with Tom Rudloff & Dave Sink. The Old Market will never be the same without them. You will be missed.

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  43. A gentleman and a scholar with a great sense of humor.

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  44. I used to go to the Antiquarium when I was down, it always cheered me up. The art upstairs and the piano. I don't even know how many times that place saved me.

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  45. Tom was friends with my father and they both loved everything about books. They are both missed. He was a good man.

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  46. The first time I met Tom was in 1973. I was living in the Mercer Mansion and we met at a party in the house.
    That night he told me that the most important thing about life were its subtleties.
    At this moment, almost 45 years later, I still wonder if what he said in that comment was completely true.
    Also, that night, Tom took me out to his very cluttered car, dug around amongst many and handed me a book titled 'Poetry and Mysticism' by Colin Wilson.
    Both that book and Tom have occasionally had profound effects on me.
    I think Tom would not mind me saying that from the very moment I met him I missed him.
    I think maybe he felt the same way.
    Goodbye my friend ...

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  47. Dorothy Mielke ,,,this is how i choose to remember Tom...now go get into an intellectual discussion with Bobby and Dave...RIP
    Dorothy Mielke's photo.

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  48. I first met Tom at the Brownville shop. I asked if he had any books by Erich von Daniken (of Ancient Aliens fame), to which he replied very casually, "Oh yes, right over here in the NutFuckery section." I will always remember that quote. Loved the shop in Brownville, I could have spent hours perusing and reading. I hope they are able to keep it open.

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  49. A more generous person will never be found. All the local artist's had shows there, Nick Chibarus, Doug Mosher, Kent Bellows to mention a few. All for free of course. Tom was alocal treasure.

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  50. My Dad ran an antique store upstairs when I was a kid and my sister and I spent our childhood in his store. I was always in awe of Tom. He very rarely allowed us to pay for a book. He helped me write my very first sentence in kindergarten. He was truly a "gentleman and a scholar" and will be greatly missed by my family.

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  51. Souls like him impact the world very large

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  52. Tom was the kindest person I ever met. I loved him so much. When the Antiquarium moved to Brownville, I felt empty every time I stopped by the Old Market. It's just not the same any more to me...

    Now, with his passing, the world is not same.

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