January/February 2005 -- Charles Tomlinson, a long-time supporter of The Atlas Society (publisher of The New Individualist), died Tuesday, December 28, 2004. Charles was regularly feautured as a speaker at Atlas Society Summer Seminars. He delighted audiences with his storytelling talent during a segment called "In Performance."
“Charles told colorful personal anecdotes, often hilarious, about his life and the people and events he encountered,” said author Robert Bidinotto. “One story was about a man who had been very influential on his life; Cha
rles broke down at the end and quickly left the stage. Another tale was about a dog—in fact, a dog that had followed me to his house, during a visit, and stayed there—and who later became a rapacious pest.” Bidinotto added, “He was a terrific storyteller; I’ve called him the Mark Twain of Objectivism.”
Tomlinson’s book A View From My Stump is still one of the best-sellers at The Objectivism Store. In addition, Charles was one of the driving forces behind the founding of The Atlasphere , a social networking and dating site for admirers of American novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand.
Charles and his wife, Susanna, also founded the “Objectivist Travelers,” a group of friends who have visited a number of foreign countries together under the auspices of The Atlas Society and travel company AHI, International. The group will continue its treks with a trip to Greece in November of 2005. Susanna Tomlinson and Elaine Ring will be in charge, but Charles's memory will still guide the trip.
Charles was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. His thoughts about his pending death were printed in the May 2002 edition of Navigator magazine. After receiving the diagnosis, Charles had a big bash celebrating his life because he wanted to be present for the festivities. Wonderfully, his cancer went into remission, and he lived until late December of 2004.
Charles was seventy-two years old when he died. The obituary that the family placed in his local newspaper said: "Charles Edwin Tomlinson of Florence and Cherokee, Alabama, finished an excellent life . . . ." Charles did have an excellent life. He was a private forester with his own family business and was active in forestry groups in the South. The Society of American Foresters inducted him into the Alabama Foresters Hall of Fame in 2002.
Part of that excellent life was his wonderful family. Charles is survived by his wife, Susanna; three children, C. Allen Tomlinson , Vanessa T. Smyth, and Stephan R. Tomlinson; and six grandchildren.
Charles called me five days before he died. One of the most important reasons for the call was that he wanted to know whether we would print these two stories ("OPS: Other People's Stuff*" and "What's So Wrong about Being Wrong?"). I checked and called him back to say that we would. That was the last time I talked to him.
At that point Charles was sure that he was going to die within a few days. One of the last things he did was to make sure that his friends would be able to read these articles. That includes new friends, who won't have the pleasure of knowing him, except through his writings.