Tudor Van Hampton, ENR’s managing editor who died on Feb. 4, meant so much to so many. First, of course, he was an adoring husband to his wife, Jenie, and father to their six-year-old daughter, Jordan. But he had a wide circle beyond: Family, friends and colleagues from around the country gathered last July at the Van Hampton home in Indianapolis to celebrate Tudor’s 39th birthday. We knew it might be his last. Four months earlier, Tudor had been diagnosed with an inoperable glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor.
Jenie recently wrote an email to let people who “somehow played an important role in Tudor’s life” know that his condition had become grave. She said, “You might be a friend, a part of the ENR family, a professional peer, a theater buff, a tool hound, gear head or car enthusiast.” His wide professional circle included individuals throughout the construction industry, particularly contractors and equipment specialists, people he had touched through his reporting, writing, tweets and speaking engagements (see obituary with links to his print and video work).
I recruited Tudor to be ENR’s equipment editor in 2002, after I took note of a young journalist asking sharp questions at CAT 101, Caterpillar’s education seminar at its Peoria, Ill., base. Just a few days before he died, Tudor’s last email to me was to make sure we had heard about the equipment maker’s decision to move its global headquarters to Chicago. His passion for the industry and journalism never faltered.
Tudor taught me many things, from small stuff like how to sync an expense-report app on my phone to the company’s system to really important things, such as an unwavering willingness to help. “What can I do to make your life easier?” he asked after any crisis. “How can I help?” He always seemed able to shoulder one more thing.
Jenie also wrote to us that while Tudor did everything he could to fight for life, he “believes there are far worse problems in the world than glioblastoma brain tumors, which, thankfully, are rare. He’d urge you to find some time to give a little to those who need it most.”
With this in mind, we have ideas for you. Jenie suggests Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis (indyhabitat.org), which was “near and dear” to Tudor and needs volunteers and tools as well as donations. He also followed and wrote about other industry non-profits—the ACE Mentor Program and Canstruction, for example. At any of these, contributions in Tudor’s honor would be put to good use.