Best Of 2016

Best tribute: The Terry Tomalin paddle-out

Terry Tomalin.

He left us too soon. The intrepid sportsman, crackerjack Times writer and devoted family man Terry Tomalin died of a heart attack last May at the age of 55. The loss of a guy so utterly alive was almost impossible to fathom, but the farewell ceremony at Fort De Soto Park honored him in a style that felt absolutely right: the beachfront setting; the big, motley crowd (including many well-known St. Petersburgers); the solemn Boy Scout procession; the funny anecdotes from fellow adventurers; the on-stage phalanx of Tomalin siblings (including actress Susan Sarandon); his two children, their poise and maturity a fine reflection of Terry and his wife, Kanika Tomalin; the poignant rendition of “Redemption Song;” and most of all, the paddle-out, in which celebrants on surfboards, paddleboards and kayaks paid silent tribute on the water, where Terry felt so at home. —David Warner