My best friend’s brother, my husband’s second cousin. Our lives were intertwined in many different ways over the last six decades. and now he is gone. This is the eulogy I gave at his funeral mass at Ealing Abbey last Thursday. I could have written much more of course – he was so well-known and well-liked – many people have favourite anecdotes and stories about him. But I couldn’t fit them all in, sadly.
Tom, Tomek, Tomeczek. Thomas Michael Maramaros was always known by one of these affectionate diminutives. This showed his generous, kind, and helpful relationship with everyone he encountered. And he encountered many people indeed as can be seen by the very full congregation today. I feel very privileged to have been asked to say these few words.
I first met Tomek (to me he will always be Tomek) about 65 years ago. He was visiting his father at work, in Tazab Travel– where my mother worked too. It seemed to be the kind of workplace where children were welcome – and made use of.
A few years later his little sister Maja began to attend my school. And from then on, a very close friendship with the whole family was forged. I spent more time at the Maramaros household than I did in my own. The reasons were plenty. Tom, Andrzej and Maja had loads of friends. Their parents were extremely welcoming. I used to stay the night very often, sleeping on their tiny little kitchen sofa. Tom used to very gently tease me that I was so shy, and that I read a lot. In fact, he was reminiscing about that not so very long ago. Rather endearingly he named his bedroom Buckingham Palace.
He was born near Perth, on a farm, the first of three children, in 1948. His mother once told me about the dreadful conditions there, not long after the war, and that only her love for her babies kept her going. They then moved to London, and the family became heavily involved in the Polish community. Tomek joined the Polish scouts, where he became a great team player, the Polish dance troupe Zywiec, which indulged his love of dancing of all kinds, (he was very dapper in his smoking at many balls) and he also discovered he had a great talent for photography and music.
Everywhere he went he acquired a great many friends. Most seem to be here today. He was very loyal and inspired loyalty.Music was probably Tomek’s biggest passion. He played in several bands – “Just an Odd Few” is the one I remember because they played at one of our school dances. He also ran Tiny Tom’s Disco. He gigged at my twenty first and I was going to ask him to resurrect his turntables for my 70th. Not to be.
Tomek was very versatile musically. He was the church organist at the Polish Church in Windsor Road, and he also played here in Ealing Abbey. He was much in demand, as he was so reliable and dependable.
Tomek lived in Ealing most of his life and from a young age devoted himself to making the lives of its residents better.
For many years he worked in the Town Hall as a computer programmer, but he really came into his own with voluntary work. He was, I believe one of the founding members of the Polish Unit of St John Ambulance, which thrived under his direction. He was Unit Manager from 2004 to 2016 and for many years he worked selflessly for the organisation. This was eventually acknowledged by his being granted the Dignity of becoming an Officer of the Venerable Order of St John.
Not content with running St John Ambulance he also devoted a lot of time to the Polish Retired Persons Housing Association where he was chairman until now.
Tom was always an active member of any organisation he belonged to. From his earliest days he helped in the parish at all the functions. He became the parish social secretary, organising all the great social functions which many of us remember with great pleasure. He was always the first person people went to if something needed doing. As a teenager he was a leading light in Millennium Youth Club and went on several of the holidays the priests from Windsor Road organised. Recently they had a big reunion. It would have been impossible without him.
Tom was a keen photographer, collector and devoted family man. He had two daughters, Emilia and Nika, whom he adored, and he would have been so delighted to see his grandchildren Izabella and Joshua in Polish National Costume as they took their baskets to be blessed for Easter. Tom was very proud of his Polish ancestry and quietly imbued his descendants with knowledge of their heritage.
Tom was a very lovable and loving person. He has left bereft, his sister Maja, his daughters Nika, Emilia with her children, Izabella and Joshua, and his wife Urszula, with her sons Mark and Chris and her grandsons, Michael, Aaron, Nathan and Jayden, who all benefited greatly from his love, wisdom and enthusiasm over the last few years.
All of us here today, his nieces Ela and Zosia, his cousins, friends and colleagues, who have come to say farewell and all those who for various reasons cannot join us will greatly miss this singularly loyal, loving and good man. You left us too soon.
God bless you, Tomek.
2 comments on “Thomas Michael Maramaros OStJ 1948 -2023”
Thank you, Basia, for the beautiful tribute to your friend, Thomas Michael Maramaros!
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