Obituary for Thomas Joseph "Tom" Black
Thomas J. Black
Tom was born into a loving family with two girls and another boy, an Irish-American mother, a German-American dad and four grandparents in the St. Paul Minnesota of the late 1950s. The son of a dedicated 3Mer and an extraordinary homemaker, Tom’s life began with the blessings they provided - stability, support, faith, love and family. Another girl and two more boys came after Tom. Later four nephews and five nieces arrived and five great-nieces and five great-nephews. Add to Tom’s Christmas Eves and July Fourth celebrations many beloved aunts, uncles and cousins, and it becomes even clearer that “family,” in its wonderful broad sense comprised a large part of the stage set where Tom’s life played for 60 years, 105 days.
In addition to blessings received, Tom faced challenges that were not of his making. But you wouldn’t know it by a single thing he said – ever. And if he were writing this account, he wouldn’t even mention them. Rather, he looked for the positive in his surroundings and found it in places many of us overlook, mostly in other people; in anyone with presence enough to notice the offer of friendship in Tom’s eye, an Irish glint he inherited and used as his mother showed him. And as he focused his sight on those positives and those good people, he drew them to him.
As important as family, Tom’s saga starred many, many friends he made easily along his journey. They began as neighbors, schoolmates, churchmates, co-workers, counselors, friends-of-friends, on and on. These friends of Tom whom he held very dear share a special trait in common. They are the good and caring kind of person who invited Tom to open up to them, to lean on them, to share with them a good time, a burden he carried, a story, a laugh. And that’s all it took to become friends with Tom. He liked you if you liked him, which was easy to do.
Tom is remembered perhaps more than anything as kind-hearted, happy, willing to connect with people and genuinely appreciative for each day in his life. He joins his beloved Mom and Dad in heaven and will be missed very much by very many; a tribute to the life he lived.