Thomas Gerard O’Brien
My best buddy, Thomas Gerard O’Brien, lost his battle with cancer August 6, 2019. Mere words fail to convey the immensity of loss and grief at his passing. And yet, the beloved man known to all as Papa Tom is best remembered for having taught us all that living a good life, loving those around us, and only stressing about that which we can control, preserves the brightness and hope of the world around us.
A man beloved by all who had the fortune to know him, Papa Tom joins his wife Earlene Maxine and oldest daughter Pauline in heaven. He is survived by his two daughters with Sandy, Leanne and Monica, as well as countless others he took into his heart and open home.
The very essence of Papa Tom’s pragmatic outlook on life was best captured when he comforted the doctor providing the bleak outlook; “The best undertaker can’t put a smile on a dead man’s face, he has to go to the grave with it. I’m going with a smile.”
The world is far richer for his having lived and loved, leaving it a better place than when he arrived. His memory lives inside all of us, providing comfort and solace for the times ahead. As he was fond of telling you, “Never say goodbye, say I’ll see you later. Goodbye means forever.” An Air Force veteran, who served his country honorably and proudly, his star (Right Ascension: 0h 38m 3.83s – Declination +54o 00’ 09.3’’) shines for whenever you need a physical reminder of his inspiration and guidance.
Internment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.
We’ll see you later Papa Tom. The Man. The Myth. The Legend.