Tom Epstein was the King at King Richard’s Faire when I began my foray into the festival world. A kind and funny man, for many years he was the face of the festival where I got my start. I had the chance to work with Tom in many different capacities over the years. He was not only my first King, but I also had the opportunity to work alongside him in a production of Man of La Mancha in which he played a brilliant Sancho. He played Santa and Colonel Mustard, and I had hoped he might be able to participate in this festival as well.
We lost Tom in 2020, after a quiet, personal struggle with cancer. Tom was a deeply private man, and none but a close few truly knew how deep his challenge ran. But that was Tom. Over the years Tom met all his challenges with grace and composure. He never wavered in his commitment to his craft or his devotion to the woman he loved. In fact, one of the few things he was often public and vociferous about was his unabashed love and delight in spending time with his partner, Di.
His carefully crafted, somewhat curmudgeonly, street persona belied a heart of gold. In his honor we present his likeness as the Falstaffian visage of our pub; a role and character he embodied and would have played brilliantly on the stage given the opportunity, and it is with no small amount of irony that no doubt he would find amusing that as a notorious teetotaler his visage now graces our pub.
So please, lift a pint to the bluff and the bluster, the regality and the humanity, the person and the persona that was our dear Old Tom.