Consortium Book Sales & Distribution personnel were among the approximately 300 friends, family, and colleagues who gathered Sunday at the Keller Golf Club House in the St. Paul, Minn. suburb of Maplewood to bid farewell to Tom Oaks. Oaks, 60, was the publishers’ services coordinator at Consortium. Oaks passed away on February 25, leaving behind his wife, Sarah Brown, and two sons.
Oaks worked for Consortium since 1996, first in the warehouse and then for the past 15 years in the publisher services department. He was, Abraham Associates independent publishers rep John Mesjak wrote on Facebook, “legendary among the Consortium community of publishers and book folk” for his weekly email round-ups. It was “as much about the news and thoughts occupying Tom's mind each week as it was about upcoming deadlines and developments at the warehouse,” Mesjak wrote.
The staff at Akashic Books posted a tribute to Oaks on the Brooklyn press’ website, stating, “Tom was one of the key people who makes the Consortium community feel like a family and not simply a distribution apparatus. This heartbreaking loss affirms the importance of all the work we do together, and the valuable service an entity like Consortium performs, which goes way beyond what anyone who isn’t part of this family could ever imagine a distributor to be.”
Donations in Oaks’ memory may be made to the Fairview Recovery Services Family Program, 2450 Riverside Avenue, F575, Minneapolis, Minn. 55454. Attn: Marlene Qualle.