Mairs was an admirable teacher. After leaving Atelier Lack he taught with fellow Lack alumnus James Childs in their atelier in Saint Paul. Anyone who applied to him as a sincere acolyte of Art benefited from his enormous repository of theory and practice. However, though never unkind, he did not suffer fools gladly. Mairs moved to Boston in the early 1980s and rented a studio in the historic Fenway Building. His superb studies after Ingres at the Fogg Museum earned him the respect of Agnes Mongan and the other renowned Ingres scholars there. He built a small but important collection of Art and objet d’art. Mairs was an artist of the exquisite. His surviving works are few, and seldom met with his own approbation or were noticed by others. Few were those who knew his work and sadly, fewer still those who appreciated it. It took a connoisseur to grasp their value. A linguist, Mairs read German, French, and some Latin. At the time of his death, he was completing Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past in French, with his usual attention to all relevant sources and corollary material, plus comparative studies in the Iliad and Odyssey. Music was also important to him. He loved Brahms and early music, but could appreciate the best of all periods and styles. He was friends with the remarkable cellist, Annette Costanzi, and was himself an accomplished pianist.
Thomas S. Mairs had the mind of a genius, a compassionate heart, a mordant sense of humor, and great personal and artistic courage. He always seemed ahead of us and now he still is – knowing the final thing. Aveat que vale. Friend, hail and farewell.1