Tom Rukavina has moved on to whatever fresh hell men like him deserve. He was 68, and is undoubtedly spending today challenging someone over some injustice suffered in the afterlife.
Leukemia was listed as the cause of death. Serving others was obviously the cause of his life.
Few people in politics talked like Rukavina, a longtime Democratic state representative from Virginia. More of them should. Funny, crass, quick with a quip, and deeply in love with 1) his constituents and 2) the poor and unfortunate, Rukavina was the desperate man's best friend. And the villain's worst enemy.
Obituaries abound when a larger than life figure dies. We'd invite you to read about Tom in the Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, and the Duluth News Tribune, among others, but there's plenty of good material out there to be found. Some of it is in video form, and can be found below.
His speeches are legendary, some combination of a union rallier's call to arms, a preacher's fire-and-brimstone, and a roast comic's ability to win the room ... while making fun of everyone in it. His was the sort of speaking that made it so even if you weren't on Tom's side when he started talking, you certainly weren't directly opposed to him by the time he finished.
Some of his positions might not age perfectly -- a former miner, Rukavina was a "dig first, clean up later" kind of guy -- but he always shot ya' straight. Sometimes that included four-letter words, which were usually dispatched with a barbed humor, a little like when you lean in for a handshake and instead receive an electric shock.
If only the state had thought to bottle Rukavina's energy. We wouldn't even need an energy grid.
Below, watch seven times Tom Rukavina said something that will fire your lazy ass up and send you into Tuesday -- and the rest of your life -- with a bit of fuckin' grit and the will to work for something, anything, if it makes someone's life a little easier.
Live like Tom Rukavina, and you won't worry about coming down with a fatal illness in your 60s. You'll know you got everything out of life there was to get. And tried giving it all back.