Bob Tommey remembered for impact on local art community


CARTHAGE, Mo, — Walk into many of the buildings on the square in Carthage and there’s a good chance you’ll see at least one painting done by painter and sculptor Bob Tommey.

Mark Elliff, President & C.E.O. Carthage Chamber of Commerce, said, “Art work in a lot of places in fact we have a couple of pieces here in our chamber office, one specifically in my office that I’ve really enjoyed over the years.”

The other is of former Chamber President Rachael Thornton. And he says Tommey even had an affect on economic development in the area.

“Bob Tommey was one of the people involved in the Mid West Gathering of the Artists many years ago and brought a lot of people to our community.”

Andy Thomas, Carthage Artist, said, “He inspired a lot of artists all over the country really, not just Carthage, he’s got disciples all over this country.”

Andy Thomas says Tommey was just as prolific a teacher of art as he was a creator of it.

“I can remember sitting down with him and he did a demonstration on painting a sunlit rock, which he painted a lot of rocks with the western art, and there was like seven hue changes because of the lighting, he explained all that to me and that was probably worth a college education to be honest, I use that every day I ever painted.”

Coincidentally, Thomas just finished painting Tommey for an upcoming mural project on the square depicting the artists that have put Carthage on the cultural map.

“That’s classic Bob, the pose, he actually had a broken finger that the finger dangled a certain way and uh he loved to costume up and he dressed like that 24 hours a day, he was great, wonderful man, kind,” said Thomas.

Tommey was 92 years old.

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