Tom Severino

Dateline: Wed 28 Oct 2009

Elevating practical jokes to an art form was just one of the late Tom Severino's many talents, but it is the one that his friends are recalling this month, in the wake of his untimely death -- he was only 57 -- July 5 of lung cancer.

The Emmis radio executive made quite an impression on the rather serious but trying-to-lighten-up Deborah Paul, whose monthly column in the November Indianapolis Monthly recounts some of his escapades.

With his radio sidekick Jon Quick, Severino created a fair amount of good-humored havoc at the Emmis HQ -- posting a sign at the parking garage instructing Emmis employees to say their name followed by the word "Open," in order to gain access to the garage; pimping Debbie Paul with an oh-so-sincere message from Martha Stewart, complete with an MS photo and an invite to sit down and sew together sometime, and jumping on unattended computers in order to send mushy love notes from one colleague to another. My personal favorite, however is the email he sent to staff with "good news/bad news" -- "He had stage IV lung cancer," writes Paul, "...but his cholesterol was fine."

You can't let a guy like that go. So in that spirit, Quick has compiled the merry "prankster's many adventures" in a small book, with proceeds benefitting the Riley Memorial Hospital Childrens' Foundation/Cancer Unit. The price is only $10; how cheap is that for a laugh that helps others?

Here's the official release from Emmis:


"Tom's Tricks" Celebrates the Life of Tom Severino, VP/GM of Emmis-Indianapolis

Book to Benefit Charity Chronicles Prankster's Many Adventures

Indianapolis....A new book chronicles the pranks and adventures of the late Tom Severino, VP/GM of Emmis-Indianapolis, who lost his battle with lung cancer earlier this year.

"Tom was many things - a devoted family man, an innovative leader and broadcaster, a compelling story teller," Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said. "As hard as he worked, he always had time to relax and enjoy life. One of his true loves was practical jokes. He delighted in keeping the office mood light, and truly embodied Emmis' 8th Commandment: Have fun -- don't take this too seriously."

Now all of Tom's "Greatest Hits" have been compiled in a book that chronicles his many pranks. Penned by his former colleague and long-time target/sidekick, Jon Quick, "Tom Tricks," is on sale for $10.

"Whether it was the post-it note he stuck on my backside that asked 'Do you like my butt?' or the time he filled my suitcase with hotel silverware, dishes and bar soap, Tom lived for laughter," Quick said. "Most importantly, it serves as a treasured memory of a man who believed in working hard, but also believed that life can be even more joyful when laughter is part of your day."

Net proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated in Tom's name to The Riley Children's Foundation/Cancer Unit in Indianapolis. More than 90% of children in Indiana with cancer are treated at Riley.

The book will be available in mid-November, and the web address for pre-orders is <> .


jersey [unverified] said:

I am only a part timer there, but Tom always treated me as though I were as important to Emmis as anyone.

2009-10-28 19:37:44

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I knew Tom, too, through a community group where we both volunteered. He was as common as an old shoe.

Jersey's compliment sums it all up, doesn't it? If only....

If only the rest of the bosses in America were as kind. It isn't hard, and it improves workplace morale.

A fitting epitaph.

2009-10-29 05:49:54

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