Obituary: Thomas Asa Hibbs, 1981-2023 | Seven Days Vermont

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Obituary: Thomas Asa Hibbs, 1981-2023 

Westford man was an exuberantly curious collector and amateur naturalist

Published April 21, 2023 at 6:02 a.m. | Updated April 21, 2023 at 11:51 a.m.

click to enlarge Thomas Hibbs - COURTESY
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  • Thomas Hibbs

Thomas Asa Hibbs of Westford, Vt., died of brain cancer on April 14, 2023, at home, surrounded by his loved ones. He was 41 years old. He was born in New York City in 1981, moved to Vermont in 1986, and attended Westford Elementary School and Essex Junction High School. He graduated from McGill University in 2004, where he majored in English. He received a JD from Rutgers University Law School in 2010 and an MS in information science from the State University of New York at Albany in 2014. From 2015 to 2022 he was an integral member of the office staff of the family dental practice.

He was an avid and expert collector of vinyl records, books and retro video games, gleaning gems from bins in secondhand shops, which he visited frequently. He cataloged and preserved his treasures on digital archival sites to share them with others. Thomas was committed to preserving information by contributing articles to Wikipedia on various topics which interested him, from expanding the Westford, Vt., page and the pages about sites in Hungary connected to close relatives and family history to articles on Satellaview, the periodic table, Tove Janssen, and tongue-in-cheek scholarly pages about the Lapine language and gamergate ants. A perfectionist, he reveled in detail in his career, collecting and play.

click to enlarge COURTESY
  • Courtesy
Thomas was exuberantly curious about the world, history and people. He was an amateur naturalist who studied and knew about ferns, mushrooms and insects and had an uncanny ability to find four-leaf clovers, interesting fossils and arrowheads, on occasion. He loved to scan the sky and was always keeping track of meteor showers, eclipses and aurora borealis activities. He would often entice his father and brothers to come and lie down in the field near the house on summer nights and watch for satellites, meteors and fireflies. He loved nonhuman beings of all kinds, especially the family dogs and his late cat, Azrael. He had a special soft spot in his heart for children, his nephews and cousins, and young patients in the dental practice who delighted in his friendship. He was never angry, never had an enemy, and he never got into any fights. He was an excellent Wordament and Boggle player. He never played cards or competitive board games against his family because he couldn't stand to see any of them lose. No one loved sugar as much as Thomas, who would even put sugar into apple cider! He was also proud of his Hungarian heritage and cultivated at first a tolerance, then a fondness, for hot, spicy foods, following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather. He very much enjoyed almond flavor, poppy seeds and edible maple products. Music was a large part of Thomas’ life and, despite difficulties communicating in the late stages of his illness, he never lost his ability to appreciate music and connect with his family through music.

Thomas loved and was beloved by his family and friends. He was a devoted son, brother, nephew and uncle, and family was very important to him. He is survived by his parents, Michael and Agnes Hibbs; his siblings, Julia Collins (Shane), Peter Hibbs (John Cruisce) and John Hibbs; nephews Keith and Oliver Collins; aunts Timea Széll (Judith Weisenfeld), Anne Diel (Kris) and Annamária Széll; uncles Stephen Hibbs (Linda Campbell), Paul Hibbs (Rebecca), Henry Hibbs (Judy) and Kálmán Széll (Lisa); by Kálmán Széll (Mária), Thomas’ great-uncle, who is an identical twin of his late maternal grandfather; and many cousins in the United States and Hungary. A gentle, kind and humble soul with a brilliant mind, sense of humor and eccentricity in the best ways, he will be missed by many. The world was a better place because he was in it, and we will never forget him.

The family is deeply grateful for the care and friendship of Thomas’ neuro-oncologist Dr. Alissa A. Thomas of the University of Vermont Medical Center.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers contributions in Thomas’ honor and memory to the UVM Cancer Center.
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