Tom Rider, rest in power

Remember bookstores?

Gainesville had a great bookstore near the UF campus for years: Goerings.

Tom Rider was the co-owner, and he passed away on March 17, years after the store succumbed to redevelopment and online sales.

I used to manage a record store a few blocks from Goerings, and both stores were similar in that the staffs genuinely loved what they were selling, were knowledgeable, and the stores were often places where you’d run into people for great conversations.

As you’ll note in his obit below, Tom was also very active in his neighborhood and the community at large. I’m proud to say he supported me in my campaigns for City Commission in the early/mid 80s.

– Gary Gordon

From the Gainesville Sun:

Thomas D. Rider, longtime Gainesville resident and former co-owner of Goerings Book Store, passed away on March 17. He will be deeply missed as a father by Andrew, Peter and Leslie Rider and as a wonderful spouse by Jane Brockmann, retired UF Biology professor.

Born in 1939, Tom grew up in Garwin, a small town in Iowa that formed the core of Tom’s character, both in terms of his love of community and his commitment to civic life.

While pursuing his PhD, Tom won a Fulbright to study in India, living there for several years, which fostered his love for Indian cultures, cuisines, and history.

In 1972, Tom moved to Gainesville and started working at Goerings Book Store, becoming the co-owner in 1981. The bookstore was for many years a treasure for readers and a true hub for the local community.

Tom was committed to many civic organizations, serving on the boards of the American Booksellers Association and the Alachua County Library Board of Trustees. His passion for the arts led him to the boards of Acrosstown Repertory Theater and The Gainesville Orchestra, among others.

For most of his fifty years in Gainesville, Tom lived in College Park. He loved the neighborhood, created a beautiful yard, and served on local planning and neighborhood associations.

Tom was grateful for the rich, fulfilling life he led, as a reader, citizen, joker, and father. He recognized how lucky he was to find and share that life with Jane. His absence will be deeply felt; a celebration of his life will be held later this spring.

Donations may be made in Tom’s memory to the Alachua County Library District Foundation (, 401 East University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601.

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