Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

Tom's support group had a phone meeting yesterday. So many good things to report!
Tom's physical activity is improving daily. More mobility in his right arm and leg!
Tom has been weaned off the medication that they believe was slowing his speech improvement with a new med. As a matter of fact his reading comprehension has improved to 75 percent! Despite that, his verbal comprehension is still low at about 50 percent. Let us continue with cards and letters as this seems the best way to communicate clearly with him. Not only that but he treasures each an every card!
Tom clearly misses his visits and I hope this will help him a bit since we are all in the same boat!
Depression - this was serious and I was deeply worried. I call in the morning and evening and this seems to lift his spirits. I still realize that his ability to express himself is not "tom" but I have been teasing him that every time he says "sorry" he owes me a dollar. Yesterday I told him I was going to be rich if he does now kick it up a notch.
Garden news. Supplies are coming in for the raised beds and we are in need of seeds/ or plants. Maybe we can send Tom a packet of Zone specific seeds that we love and attach a note to tell him why??? Just a thought.
Yesterday's call left me feeling very optimistic and very joyful as there were many "Tom" minutes where I got a real laugh. When they called they asked me what I was doing and I replied that I was stuffing my face with chocolate and I could hear a "Tom" groan in the background! (Teehee)
Keep those cards and letters coming and every time you go outside and see "Spring" say a little prayer for Tom.
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Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

On Mondays Tom's team of caregivers has a conference call with me to let me know what is happening in Tom's world. This past Monday we had good news on the physical therapy and a bit of a set back on speech therapy. Tom is doing his best to overcome all obstacles.  Before the call was over I teased Tom to remind him my birthday was today and that all I wanted from him was to sing "Happy Birthday" to me....I got my wish! Best present ever!

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

I had a scare last Thursday night. Tom was admitted into Seton Hospital because his speech was slurry and he was not sleeping. EKG, MRI, and Ct Scan all came back NEGATIVE for new stroke activity! Today they preformed a Lumbar Punch to check for bacteria and or micro-organism presence and that was also negative! The conclusion reached was Tom had a very minor seizure and that are changing his medications to prevent that from happening again. Yippee! Thank you all for your ongoing prayers and well wishes - they mean the world to us both. He is going back to Neuro Restorative this afternoon.

Journal entry by Carol McGuire

Tom would love to have your visit or Valentines at NeuroRestorative, 5150 N. A W Grimes Blvd., Round Rock, TX 78665. He is really working hard to recover from a severe stroke. Let him know he has many friends pulling for him! He was feeling good today & ready to watch the SuperBowl.

Journal entry by sandi tomlinson

Tom’s loving parents lived in Houston, Texas. When they heard about Tom’s stroke they wanted desperately to be in Austin with him. But, because of their frail health they were only able to talk with him over the telephone. Tom treasured each conversation with them.


On December 13th Tom’s mom died. 


Tom’s medical team team suggested that he be notified at a later date so he could continue to focus on his rehabilitation and receive the cheerful support of friends during the holidays. 


After the burial of Tom’s mother in Austin, Tom’s dad developed pneumonia. He joined Tom’s mother on December 29. 


Diana, Tom’s sister, notified Tom of his parents’ death on Thursday, January 9. 


There will be a service on Monday, January 13 at 2:00 at Austin Memorial Park, Lot 113 in block 5B. Tom will be there to honor his parents. Your support during his time of grief is so appreciated.


The address for visiting and sending cards is:


Tom Spencer

C/O Neuro Restorative

5150 North A W Grimes Blvd.

Round Rock Tx 78665


Journal entry by sandi tomlinson

Bobbi Kaye, David and I visited Tom today. He proudly showed us a large box and basket of Christmas cards he received from friends. Thank you so much for showering him with care. He enjoyed listening to Bobbi Kaye read some of his beautiful poems. We sat outside and watched the golfers march around the golf course. We enjoyed an incredible photo book of his Facebook posts from 2018. He has moved to room 11. His heart is filled with gratitude for his progress and the support of friends and family.

Journal entry by Marianne Rochelle

It turns out, if properly supervised, little Jewish girls can be Christmas elves too!  Thank you Mike Blair for helping me decorate.  Special thanks to my good friend Janice Kolbe, who doesn’t even know Tom, who provided the bulk of these decorations to bring Tom some holiday cheer.  He was overjoyed! (I hope Carol McGuire, who gave Tom the lovely blue frog, doesn’t mind that it got lit up too!). Lynne, I delivered your gift from KMFA and it was playing music for him to enjoy when he finished speech therapy!  Thanks to all who have sent holiday cards!  Cheers....

Journal entry by Carol McGuire

Visited with Tom yesterday, Sunday afternoon. He laughed at the blue Bhudda frog I found for him at Shoal Creek nursery. We sat outside in the warm sunshine and then back inside, enjoyed reading Tom’s poetry in the notebook “What’s Poetry”. What improvement he has made in just a week. I love seeing his smiles. Says he is ready to go up those 16 steps to his condo by February!

Journal entry by sandi tomlinson

Today Tom said "I want a hamburger." I asked him if he wanted onions, cheese and catsup. He said "everything!"  

His speech is improving so hopefully he'll get that burger soon. 

There are 4 Christmas cards and a beautiful poinsettia on his dresser. He's so grateful for your care. Tears flow when he reflects on his caring community. 

Keep those cards and letters coming!

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman
Tom’s Story

Site created on October 2, 2019


Last week when I was in Austin, several words stood out in many of the conversations that I had… Icon. Treasure. Institution. Gift. 

Words that were used to describe my brother Tom Spencer. 

Sure, I could elaborate on the many places that through his efforts and leadership made Austin a better place to live, however I am going to take another route. 

When JFK was assassinated, Tom, a grade school kid, wept on the bus. He already at a young age had a sense of the world and how that charismatic man had made the world a better place. 

That desire to make the world a better place is something that Tom did in many little ways, not just on the public stage.

Our younger brother, Jeff, would have said Tom was a champion. Not just a hero in all their stories but someone who literally took his hand and walked him through scary places. Tom did that for the last time when Jeff died of cancer. 

Tom was an exasperation to me. He was an unwelcome intruder of my perfect world when he was born. He teased me, taunted me, fought with me and finally somewhere along the line we became friends. He was a treasure that I had at last found and my gift.

Last month Tom suffered a massive stoke. The articulate man that we all knew is silenced for a while.
He is struggling to regain the ability to express himself and let the world know that he is still here….

He is here and he needs your good will, kindness, prayers and what ever you call it to come back.

Here at Caring Bridge is a place where we can all find ways to help Tom return to self and to all of us.

Thank you,
Diana Hoffman (Tom's sister)