Thomas Stanley Gorman, chef/owner of Millbrook Inn and Restaurant in
Fayston, Vermont, died of cancer on December 23, 2010, at Fletcher Allen
Medical Center in Burlington.
Thom was born on April 19, 1945, in South Portland, Maine. He spent his childhood in southern Maine before attending Boston University. Upon graduation, he spent two years in the Peace Corps in India with his wife, Jeanne. This experience shaped Thom in many ways, exposing him to a new culture for the first time. It also sparked a lifelong love for Indian cooking.
After his return to the United States in 1969, Thom worked as a salesman, first for Procter and Gamble and then in the college textbook division at Holt, Rinehart and Winston. He was promoted to an editorial position in 1977 and worked on science textbooks.
In 1979, Thom moved to Waitsfield. He and his wife Joan purchased Millbrook Inn, which they initially ran as a bed and breakfast. Six months later, Thom and Joan opened a restaurant in the inn, featuring Indian food, homemade pasta and desserts, and fresh local produce from their garden. For over 30 years they cooked together and served local food - long before the term "localvore" was in common use. In recent years, they also started hosting themed wine dinners, pairing the best local ingredients with wines from around the world. Thom loved the challenge of cooking new types of food and would research these meals carefully. He also enjoyed sharing his knowledge and love of how to cook Indian food through cooking classes, which he offered every summer as part of the Vermont Festival of the Arts.
Cooking was Thom's life work, but travel was his passion. In over 30 years of avid traveling, he and Joan visited all 50 states and every continent, except Antarctica. An intrepid hiker and skier, Thom climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, hiked to Machu Picchu, and trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, with Joan always at his side. He especially loved South Africa, which he and Joan visited numerous times.
Thom also loved Waitsfield and was a familiar face around town, especially in Mehuron's Supermarket and at the Waitsfield Farmers' Market. He learned to downhill ski at Mad River Glen and loved nothing better than a great run on Lynx to Beaver. He also loved living in Vermont and all the people in this community and many others who came to eat in the restaurant and stay in the inn.
Thom is survived by his beloved partner in life, travel, and business, his wife Joan Gorman; daughter and son-in-law Mara Gorman and Matt Kinservik of Newark, Delaware; daughter and son-in-law Sheila and Brian Fadrosh of Shoemakerville, Pennsylvania; grandsons Tommy and Teddy Kinservik, Alex Moquin, and Johnny Fadrosh; foster son Jerome Wortman; siblings Janet Cotter, David Gorman, Marilyn Hanft, and Paula Flanders; father- and mother-in-law Daniel and Sonia Handelsman; numerous adopted family members and friends from around the world; and his dog "Riley."
A potluck memorial remembrance of Thom's life will be held at the Basebox at Mad River Glen on Wednesday, January 19, at 6 p.m. Please contact Lorraine Wargo at 496-3621 for more information.
Donations can be made in Thom's memory to the Mad River Valley Ambulance Service, P.O. Box 305, 4177 Main Street, Waitsfield, VT 05673 or to the Stark Mountain Foundation, P.O. Box 1221, Waitsfield, VT 05673.
The Gorman family would like to thank Dr. Neil Hyman, Dr. Paul Unger, and the many other staff members at Fletcher Allen who provided such wonderful care to Thom at the end of his life.