There were many highlights, fine words from fine people, and music. One friend talked amusingly about Tompkins' fastidious attention to art. For me, however, the most moving depiction of Tompkins came from his daughter Quincy Tompkins Imhoff, who managed to portray her father's strengths with appreciation and to indicate his failings with depth but not rancor.
The public persona he presents, utterly unique, both brash and delicate, subversive and charming, masks an inner core of serious artistry. This lover of nature in all of its forms -- good, bad and ugly -- mostly lives an austere, isolated life that has enabled him to make such a rich contribution to the fragile, precious library of American literature.