Eulogy of Thomas Zaremba
1919 - 2008

St. Louis Catholic Church, Floodwood, Minnesota

Good morning to you all and thank you for braving the weather as we remember Uncle Tom. It is a privilege for me to get to say some words about Tom Zaremba, the last living of his five siblings.

If we were really going to make this funeral fitting for Uncle Tom, we’d find a dog that doesn’t stop barking and have it greet everyone as they arrived in church today! As daunting as the trip from the car to Tom’s house was, the greeting Tom gave you dispelled any notion that you were not welcome.

Uncle Tom was a person who was always so joyful to see you. Whenever you saw Tom after an absence, he would first grab you with one had, then grasp his other hand over yours and give you a hearty, long, two-handed shake. His eyes would radiate joy and seemingly have to try hard to keep from crying with happiness upon seeing you. I don’t recall anyone making a bad remark about Uncle Tom.

Tom was a fixture on Savanna Road. His house, smack dab in a world-class mosquito breeding area, was a simple, welcoming place. I remember when Dottie got married Bob and I spent a night fighting off mosquitoes and listening to the dull roar of insects. Despite the mosquitoes, Bobby and Tommy Bezin also enjoyed staying at the farm and playing with all the cousins and neighbors over the summer.

While we were growing up and times were tough on the farm, Dick and I always got our biggest Christmas gift from Uncle. We didn’t learn until we were older that he always came to ask my mother, Victoria what we had our eye on. He was a wonderful uncle to us.

We spent many summer days at Island Lake when he had his power boat and he taught us and many others to water ski and picnic right. After my mother’s death in the car accident, Tom handled all the arrangements while our family was in mourning.

My sister Dottie remembers Uncle Tom showing her the location of the artesian well. She remembers that at Easter time, he would share the decorated lamb cake that Aunty Frances sent through the mail that miraculously survived the US Postal Service. She still remembers the trip Uncle Tom took her on as a child where he took her, Carol Strapple, Aunty Frances and Aunty Mary first to Chicago to drop off Carol and then onto Buffalo NY to see Uncle Dan, Niagara Falls, and the Soo Locks.

Uncle Tom was always a font of news of local events, relaying the passing of common acquaintances and kept up on the weather news and always called when the weather was bad in Rochester, Minneapolis, or Iowa to see if we were all surviving.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Chicago Bears. I still remember going to a Vikings-Bears football game in the old Met stadium, sitting in the rain, wondering what enjoyment the guys could possibly get from the game. He subscribed to the Chicago Sun Times to keep up with the Bears and Chicago news. We’re glad the Bears have won a Super Bowl in recent history!

I would also like to take time to thank the Ruzynski clan for watching over Uncle Tom for so many years like one of their own. Whether it be driving him, fetching him supplies, or taking care of house chores, he was very grateful for their unselfish care and concern. It was a blessing for him to be able to stay in his house for his entire life. He was a gentle man and he will be missed.