Dear Family and Friends ~
(Several of Tom's Musical Videos are linked at the end of the photo section)
Hi – I am Colleen Million and my brother, Tom, was diagnosed in January of 2020 with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer and it had already metastasized to his bones. He was told that he would live, maybe, two to three years. This news was utterly impossible to swallow, and it sent me and my family into a state of shock! All I could think of and cry about was that this can’t be happening, it is not fair! My mother, who just turned 89, still cries and prays for a miracle, and she is heartbroken. Her only wish is to stay alive for Tom so that she can hold him and let him know that she loves him. Over the past two years, Tom has undergone all the available treatments, but… sadly the treatments are no longer working to slow the cancer’s spread. Now, at the start of the third year, Tom has been told by his doctors that he has only a short time to live.
Even as he faces his final months, Tom’s biggest worries and concerns are for his family, and how they will survive now that he is no longer able to support them. Without Tom’s income the family can’t afford rent or to make ends meet. Our help financially in Tom’s end of life will lift the weight from his shoulders and help shelter his family. Any amount of financial support is truly needed and appreciated at this challenging time.
Over the last two years, I have watched Tom as he has struggled to continue working to support his wife Linda, and his granddaughter. He can no longer continue that effort and has had to give up teaching guitar, which is his livelihood, and as a result, he is unable to provide monetarily for his beloved family. This is a double blow since he is the sole earner for his family and because he will be cut off from the close relationships, he has fostered with many of his students for upwards to 5-10 years, if not longer.
In his youth my brother was crazy about learning to play the guitar and I remember him spending consecutive days in his room, never leaving it, just so that he could play Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton licks over and over on his vinyl record player while teaching his fingers to play all the riffs just like the British blues players. Eventually he moved on to the great American originators of the blues. He was incredibly dedicated! He went on to study music at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood and graduated in 1985. Moving back to Santa Barbara in 1985 he began teaching guitar at Jensen Music. Teaching, another part time job and playing gigs were his source of income. All the while attending Santa Barbara City College, where he was the music student of the year and was awarded the Mahlon Balderston Scholarship Award. After City College he applied to UCSB. When he applied to UCSB he also applied for a Regents Scholarship, which he was awarded, and it provided him with the financial support to attend the university. He attended UCSB majoring in music composition and eventually was accepted into the College of Creative Studies at UCSB and graduated in 1991 with a degree in music composition. Some of you may be familiar with Tom’s earlier band called, Tombo Combo. Tombo Combo, played in many local venues and several festivals. In later years he and Rod Rolle formed the band, Stiff Pickle Orchestra. In 2011 Stiff Pickle Orchestra represented Santa Barbara Blues Society as competitors in the International Blues Society Blue’s Challenge in Memphis Tennessee.
Being diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostate Metastatic Bone Cancer at the beginning of a Pandemic in 2020 was not easy and Tom was driven to create a whole new way to teach his students. This was a difficult feat when the technology was somewhat challenging for him, in addition to undergoing the side effects of constant treatments to keep the cancer at bay. He had to join the Zoom World and learn how to set up a home studio so that he could continue teaching all his students online.
We know many of his friends, fans and members of his community would like to help however they can. We appreciate whatever size donation you would like to contribute to support him and his family though this trying time.
With Love and Gratitude,
Colleen and The Murray Family
*** Please scroll down for videos of Tom's music.