Tommy Nunn (1950-2021)
In the artistic community of Summit, Oregon in the coastal mountains
in a big old store built over 100 years ago, I live with my adorable
wife, Tina, and 2 children, Richie and Hannah.
The store is listed as an historical dwelling and the town of Summit
is a cultural resource peopled by craftsmen of all persuasions. It
is located about 20 miles west of Corvallis, Or.
I studied violin making with the late Willis Gault of Baltimore, Maryland.
During that time, I made a violin and a viola d’amore which
is an obsolete 14 string shoulder viola.
For a number of years I became distracted with a career in music performance,
playing in many folk bands, one of which featured the Celtic harp.
It was during that time that I first met and jammed with Dave Thormahlen,
who plays mandolin. To this day, I still distract myself by playing
in a Celtic band, The Mighty Warriors, and in my spare time make
violins, guitars and bouzoukis, a type of Greek lute.
A few years ago Dave gave me a very special birthday present of all
the wood and supplies to make a guitar. Then he showed me how to do
it, which has sparked an interest in creating fretted instruments.
Dave has acted as a “patron of the arts” by
providing me with the tools and materials to pursue this fascinating
To work on a daily basis with a craftsman of Dave’s caliber has
dramatically elevated my personal skills as a luthier. In my capacity
as assistant to this “master harpmaker,” I find myself
in the wonderful position of continuously expanding my awareness of
the qualities of wood and how to work with it. This job is not
just a livelihood, it is a learning experience. What could possibly
be more fulfilling.
Since Covid-19, Tommy is no longer working with us. He
is enjoying life in Summit, Oregon, playing music and doing some woodworking
on his own. His children are now grown up. I'm sure when Covid-19
restrictions are lifted, he will once again distract himself with musical
Update: Tommy passed away on Saturday, October 9 at 4:20
in the afternoon at the age of 70. We attended a lovely memorial
the following Saturday with music, food and wonderful stories about Tommy's
life, relationships and the music he brought into the world. We will
miss him dearly.
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