Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin, have published a tribute to their late son, Thomas “Tommy” Bloom Raskin, who died at 25 on New Year’s Eve.
The couple remembered their son as having a “perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind.”
The Maryland Democrat announced his son’s death Dec. 31. Tommy died at the family’s Takoma Park home, according to Raskin’s spokeswoman, Samantha Brown.
“On the last hellish brutal day of that godawful miserable year of 2020, when hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people all over the world died alone in bed in the darkness from an invisible killer disease ravaging their bodies and minds, we also lost our dear, dear, beloved son, Hannah and Tabitha’s beloved irreplaceable brother, a radiant light in this broken world,” Raskin and his wife wrote in the tribute made public Monday.
Days after Tommy’s death, Raskin’s family announced the Tommy Raskin Memorial Fund for People and Animals, which will distribute money semiannually to causes and charities he championed and helped advance. The fund was launched with $50,000.
The family planned a private funeral, followed later in January by a virtual public memorial service.
The congressman represents parts of Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery counties.
Tommy is survived by his sisters, Hannah and Tabitha, grandparents Arlene Bloom and Lynn Raskin, and dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Sandwiched between two sisters as the middle child, Tommy was described by his parents as someone whose “irrepressible love of freedom and strong libertarian impulses made him a skeptic of all institutional bureaucracy and a daring outspoken defender of all outcasts and kids in trouble.”
He was also an avid vegan, animal lover and writer.
Tommy graduated from Montgomery Blair High School, then Amherst College, where he majored in history and helped lead the Amherst Political Union, won the Kellogg Prize for public speaking, created and performed one-act plays with his social dorm mates, and wrote a senior thesis on the intellectual history of the animal rights movement.
In 2019, he went to Harvard Law School, where he pushed fellow students to engage with social problems, and he spent last summer working as an associate at Mercy for Animals, where he found a “knack for actual lawyering,” his family said.
Last fall, he started working as a teacher’s assistant and gave away about half his salary to help purchase mosquito nets with global charities to help save people with malaria, his family said, adding that he made individual donations in his students’ names after the semester was over to charities that targeted global hunger.
In the tribute, the Raskins described their son’s battle with depression and said that despite doctors, a loving family and numerous friends who adored him, the pain became too “overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable.”
“He left us this farewell note on New Year’s Eve day: ‘Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.’”
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Barker contributed to this article.