Where does one begin to describe a man who gave so much and took so little? Jonathan P. Tomes was one of the most giving, loving, dedicated and loyal men I have ever known. He loved his family deeply but struggled to show this in traditional emotional ways. He showed his love through kind actions and thoughtful gifts and gestures. He loved his students and clients and always gave all he had for them. Jon fought for life and truly wanted to live, but encountered God late in life. He fully submitted and wanted to be with the Most High, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in the end. We are so grateful for him being a part of our lives here on earth but even more grateful that he is with us as Kingdom citizens and look forward to the day we are together again.
Early Years: Jon was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 24, 1945 to Paul Jonathan Tomes and Mary Jane Wilson. His paternal grandparents were Orlando Essex Tomes and Edna Knause and his maternal grandparents were Samuel Earl Wilson and Sadie Caddy. Jon grew up in Fort Custer, Michigan and Lawrenceburg, Indiana, along with his sisters, Sarah and Barbara. He was very close with his living grandparents, especially his grandfather Sam whom he greatly respected. Sam and Jon shared a love for hard work and the Boston Celtics, both of which Jon has passed on to his children.
College Education: He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Commercial Arts degree and won a R.O.T.C. scholarship for the last half of his college career. Upon graduation, this scholarship led him to a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Branch of the United States Army.
Military Life: Second Lieutenant Tomes served as a U.S. Army Infantry platoon leader in Vietnam with friends Bill Hunt and Bruce Perry. He served under Walter Marm, who he greatly respected. In Vietnam, Jon received the Silver Star for Valor, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, an Air Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, a Combat Infantry Badge, an Airborne Badge and various other medals. After his tour of duty in Vietnam, he and his friend Bill Millar entered military intelligence school, where, among other things, they infiltrated the Baltimore Harbor in a rubber raft. After finishing military intelligence school, he served as a military intelligence officer in Germany commanding a counterintelligence unit and eventually became the East German Branch Chief responsible for all Army undercover espionage activities during the Cold War. He received so many other honors and was “Airborne” which he was especially proud of as he had a fear of heights.
Law School/Military Legal Carrier: At the end of his tour of duty in Germany, the Army sent then Captain Tomes to Oklahoma City University Law School where he graduated first in his class. Each summer during law school, Jon interned at various Judge Advocate Corps (JAGC) offices. After graduation, the Army moved him into the JAGC, where he continued to serve his country, first as a military prosecutor, then as defense counsel, and finally as military judge. Jon became a fierce advocate for his clients; one whom people respected and quickly learned never to underestimate. He carried this zeal and advocacy into his private practice in later life. As a military judge, he was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky and rode the circuit from base to base in the Mid-West to places like Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. All regarded him as fair: upholding the law and not letting his political preference sway his decisions.
Upon finishing his tour of duty as a military judge, the Army sent Jon to school at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This was a tremendous honor. After finishing his education, Jon stayed on as a member of the faculty to teach military law, among other subjects. Finally, he finished out his Army career in the Army Claims Service at Fort Meade, Maryland. Jon retired after 20 years in 1988 with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Private Professional Life: When he retired from the military, he joined the faculty of Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago, where he was Dean of Students and taught legal writing, military law, health law, and criminal procedure, among others. He worked tirelessly to educate all his students, but in particular as a legal writing professor and moot court advisor. He was proud of the fact that, during three of the four years he taught at Chicago-Kent, one of his students was number one in each graduating class. One of his favorite positions was serving as a moot court advisor to the Black Law School Student Moot Court Teams and taking them to great success in many challenges. The Black Law School Students voted him professor of the year two years in a row during his tenure at Chicago-Kent.
He also served as a very successful civilian lawyer and defense counsel from 1988 until 2019. He successfully litigated many cases on behalf of his clients in federal and state courts. Jon also served as an expert witness in many complicated military and healthcare related cases. During these years, he became a leading expert in HIPAA, the HITECH Act, and the Omnibus rule. He trained medical companies, government agencies and practitioners in compliance matters and defending many clients in the face of allegations of HIPAA violations. Jon also advised many businesses and state and local agencies about HIPAA privacy and confidentiality, reporting requirements, record retention requirements, risk analysis and general policies and procedures. In his later years, he consulted and taught regularly regarding Healthcare and Military matters.
Jon was also a prolific writer. He wrote more than 60 nonfiction books dealing with medical record issues, HIPAA, HITECH, military law, and privacy matters. He has several published law review articles including articles regarding the Community Reinvestment Act, the Federal Tort Claims Act, the development of military justice in assault and rape cases over the years, and the development of HIPAA and HITECH over the first 20 years. The U.S. Supreme Court cited one of his law review articles. His long-time friend, editor, and publicist, Alice McCart, supported and helped him with these publications for almost 40 years.
Jon also wrote and published many novels and short stories. Fiction writing may have been his favorite passion and helped him recover five years ago from a neurological disorder likely caused by Agent Orange exposure during his time in Vietnam. His novels include I am Yosef, Ben Yaakov, Husband of Miryam, and Stepfather of the Messiah, Meadville, PA: Christian Faith Publishing (forthcoming 2021), Last Grade Served in Honorably, Kansas City, MO: Veterans Press (forthcoming 2021), HITECH Hysteria, Kansas City, MO: Veterans Press (forthcoming 2021), The Art Sting, Kansas City, MO: Veterans Press (forthcoming 2021), Many Units of Blood, Kansas City, MO: Veterans Press (2019), Ghost Six and the Bright Blue Blade, Meadville, PA: Christian Faith Publishing (2018), A Unit of Blood, Overland Park, KS: Veterans Press (e-published on Amazon Kindle 2012), HIPAA Hysteria, Overland Park, KS: Veterans Press (2010), JAGC-Off: A Politically Incorrect Memoir of the Real Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Overland Park, KS: Veterans Press (2010), Lawful Orders, Overland Park, KS: Veterans Press (hardcover 1998, Amazon Kindle version 2012). He also wrote many funny short stories, including those about Womble, the God of the Honey Trap, available on Amazon Kindle.
While writing non-fiction law books for commercial publishers, he started a small firm in Chicago and then moved his law practice to the Kansas City area. Eventually, he formed a publishing company, called Veterans Press, Inc., as well as a HIPAA consulting company, called EMR Legal, Inc.
Family. He was a loving husband and father to three wonderful children Carrie Ruth Tomes, Paul David Tomes and Aree Katharine Wipawee Tomes. Jon cared for and loved his daughter Carrie and admired the complete dedication of his first precious wife, Marilyn, to Carrie’s care. They were both deeply saddened by Carrie's death in 1997.
Jon adored and treasured his son Paul and often remarked that Paul was the best father he had ever known. Jon supported and loved Paul and bragged to everyone about his son. He coached basketball for Paul's youth teams. They both loved ethnic foods, especially dumplings. They also shared a love of Cincinnati chili, Goetta, White Castles and Chinese dinners. Jon also loved to take Paul and his wife and son (Jon's grandson) out to five star steak houses for beautiful steak dinners. Jon taught Paul to drive when Paul was 15 years old. These lessons took place in Jon's hometown of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. They both loved to play board games, including chess. Paul and Jon attended many Cincinnati Reds games during summers especially after Jon moved to Chicago. A few years back, Jon took Paul to Boston to see their beloved Boston Celtics.
Jon was also an avid runner who ran or worked-out almost every day of this adult life. He ran 13 marathons over the years, joined by his son Paul and former wife, Marilyn. Paul particularly remembers watching his dad run in and complete the Chicago Marathon.
Jon remarried in January 1991. Their love was like a thunderbolt and could not be avoided. He and Kenda celebrated 30 years of wonderful marriage a few days ago on January 11, 2021. Whether it was raising their children, choosing art, working on his books in the last few years or helping friends or the church, together they made a very great team. Their daughter, Aree was the apple of her father's eyes and he spoke about her to anyone who would listen. He was so proud of her and supported her in every way. She and Jon also shared a love for the Boston Celtics and enjoyed the tradition of going to Baskin Robins for ice cream whenever the Celtics won. They too loved ethnic food and bonded over their tolerance for spicy food, which was usually Thai food. Jon coached Aree's elementary and middle school basketball teams and gave everything to this. He loved seeing the girls grow in their skill and assertiveness.
God recently called Jon to serve his church, World Revival Church. He truly loved working with Pastor Steve Gray and Pastor Kathy Gray.
Jon is survived by his wife, Kenda Katharine Tomes of Kansas City, his daughter, Aree Katharine Wipawee Tomes, his son, Paul David Tomes, his daughter-in-law, Sarah Marie Tomes and his grandson, Michael Jonathan Tomes all of Covington, Kentucky. He is also survived by his sister Sarah Tomes Smith, his brother-in law Elmer Smith, his nieces, Elizabeth Blanco and Jenny Blanco, Jenny's husband, Lucky E. Ivy, and his grandniece and nephew, Zella and Lucky.
In summary, Jon was a great man. Not a perfect man, but a great man. And, in the end was all in for God. Thank you Jesus.
Funeral services for Jon will be held at 11:00am on Tuesday, February 2 at Longview Funeral Home, where the visitation will take place on Monday, February 1 from 6-8pm. The services on Tuesday will be livestreamed at facebook.com/longviewfuneralhome. Burial will take place in Charlotte, Michigan. Memorial contributions in Jonathan's name are suggested to World Revival Church.