Thomas L Sarjeant, Jr
April 13, 2015

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  Thomas L. Sarjeant, Jr. a man who spent his life helping those in need, passed away after a long illness on Monday evening, April 13, 2015. He was 79 years old.

Tom was born in Brighton, the son of Thomas and Rita Sarjeant and also his mother Charlotte. He grew up in Everett. At the age of 17, with his parent’s permission, he enlisted in the Air Force to serve during the Korean War. He held the rank of Airman, 3rd Class and was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal and Korean Service Medal.

He made his life’s goal to help those that were going through difficult times. He became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in troubled youth. He worked at the Waltham Middlesex Detox Center for many years. Tom also had his own private counseling practice at the Choate hospital. He was involved in the first OUI Program in Waltham. Tom was so passionate about his work that he did not retire until the age of 71. There are thousands of adults, whom Tom helped to get back on their feet and become contributing members of the community. He was proud to say that he was a Friend of Bill for over 45 years.

Tom had a number of activities outside of work. He enjoyed spending time with his sister, Kathy golfing. He was an avid boater, but he was not a weekend boater he made his 30 foot cruiser his full time home for 10 years. He docked his boat in Marblehead, Gloucester, Watertown Yacht Club, and on the Chelsea Creek during the winter months. There were so many memorable moments aboard his boat including the annual Fourth of July spent on the Charles River listening to the concerts and watching the fireworks, a cherished family tradition. His Christmas tree was proudly placed on the boat’s bow during the holiday season. Tom loved sharing his love of the water with his family and friends and you were thrilled when he invited you aboard.

He was a devoted caretaker to Kathleen. Family was most important to him. He loved spending time with his grandchildren. He especially loved having dinner parties with Beverly and Emily and of course eating lot of chocolate together!

Tom will be remembered as a man that influenced and made a difference in many lives. He will also be remembered as a loving companion to Kathleen, a devoted father to Jimmy, Marjie, TJ, Gayle, Dianne and Debi, a terrific brother, a cherished Papa, a great grandfather, and a funny Uncle to many nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed!

Tom was the beloved of companion of the late Kathleen Rivers. He was loving father of James “Jimmy” of Londonderry, NH, Marjorie Banks & her husband Dennis of Wilmington, Thomas “TJ” & his wife Jane of Woburn, Gayle Connors of Woburn, Dianne Connors of Brownsville, VT, and Debi Connors of Chico, CA. Brother of John & his wife Bettye of Sarasota, FL, Kathleen Knowles & her husband Richard of Reading, and the late Beverly Costa & her late husband Joseph. Grandfather of 8 and great grandfather of 2.

Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON, (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Friday, April 17 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Visiting hours at the funeral home on Thursday from 4-8 p.m. Interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Tom’s name may be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association Massachusetts Chapter, 72 East Concord Street, C3, Boston, MA 02118 or www.apdama.org.

Words from Marjorie

I have been praying for the strength to be strong today and to do a good job for our Dad. We were all truly blessed to have him in our life! A gift from God! I am so grateful and proud to be able to call him my Dad!

Our Dad had a great ability to always look for the positive side of things. He could always find a silver lining. Life wasn’t always easy for him. Even in the very beginning when he was a child he faced a lot of struggles that most children did not have to deal with. His parents loved him, but unfortunately they had their own battles to deal with and it caused our Dad to have to worry about finding food for his little sister and keeping them safe. He stepped into the role of becoming the man of the house at such a young age. His Grandparents eventually took him and his brother in. Through it all did he feel sorry for himself? No…..he pushed on and did what he had to do. Trying to take care of his sister and making sure they were safe! He would say……… I did what I had to do. And we made the best of it! (The silver lining)

Eventually, things did get tough for him and he struggled with life. Turning to alcohol over the loss of love and rejection he felt. But, the important thing is he pushed through and he overcame his addition to alcohol. Finding yet another silver lining in what was probably one of the hardest things to overcome, his alcoholism. He turned it around and helped people from his knowledge of his experience. Throughout my life I have had so many people come up to me and say, “Your Dad is just wonderful, he helped our family so much! You must be so proud of him!” I admire him and respect him. He led a life that made me so proud. He touched so many people. He truly knew the meaning of life and what was important! He was honest and warmhearted, sensitive and genuine. He was a man doing the best that he could. At living he was a success! He did just what God wanted him to do!

He always made it known that he was there when we needed him. That he was the Dad. He most valued people he loved! And He tried to make the little things special like; Hot fudge sundaes on New Year’s Eve with all the fixings, having the great pumpkin appear on our pumpkin vine just in time for Halloween, on Thanksgiving he would always say the blessing and let us not forget our important tradition of carrots and parsnips, our Fourth of July’s were so special being out on Dad’s boat, a cherished family tradition. Our Christmas’s were all so memorable even the one when my siblings opened up all the presents before Mom and Dad woke up! How lucky are we!

When Kathy got sick and they were both faced with the terrible illness of ALS. He took care of her so lovingly. Never complaining about how much it was for him to take care of her. He would say we are lucky to have each other. Then he would mention how someone always has it worse than he. (Again The silver Lining) Eventually when he became too sick to take care of Kathy it took 10 girls to take over for him.

Three years ago when my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease: I told him Dad we can beat this thing called Parkinson’s. We will do it together. Little did I know just how devastating his illness would become. Did I ever hear him complain? Never! He had this wonderful ability to find humor and make light of it for himself and those around him. He would say, if I’m gonna have this thing called Parkinson’s than I’m gonna have fun with it! He would joke about the convenience of his hand tremor. He would say look I don’t have to scratch myself, I place my hand there and the tremor does of the work for me. (Another silver lining)

Now I know that all of us here know there is another side to my Dad! He had a wonderful ability to make people laugh and to find laughter when needed. To know him is to love him. And if you were loved by him you will also know that you were “nicknamed” I’m sure I don’t have to mention any names as you will know who are. Here are just a few:

Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, Lady Di, The Colonel, The Arlington Advocate and let’s not forget the Boston Globe, Bud, The Boys, My Sons, Gaylsey, Bubba which was a graduated name from a name we cannot mention here in Church, Norton, Trixie, Farrah Fawcett, Windchill, Short Legs, Little Sis, little Gaylsey, Hot Shot, My Girls, The Smart One, My Little Girl Let’s not forget HI UNCLE TOM.

My Dad always made me feel so loved and accepted. We were loved unconditionally. He always made it known that he was there for us when we needed him. That he was our Dad. I am forever grateful.

Today on this sad day it is hard for me to find a silver lining……………..but I must because I have the world’s greatest Dad. I am so lucky to have him. We all are! (Our Silver Lining)

When visiting with my Dad he would say…………. Okay it time for you to go home now! And don’t forget to take your kids! Then he would say to my girls………………Who Loves Ya?

They would say………….. Papa loves you, you betcha ………….. He would say………. You betcha………Emily would say …………. And don’t you forget it!

So, My Dad…..now it is time for you to go home! I love you….and don’t you ever forget it!

Message from Kathy Knowles

Psalm 91 verse 4 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Believe it or not, Tom would want us to smile today and I promise I will really try. He was always quick witted and would have a comeback to keep you on your toes. He had the ability to size up a person in the matter of minutes. Tom knew if you were being honest with him and even more importantly with yourself. He had a desire to listen, really listen to people.

If everyone whose lives were touched by Tom, whose souls he saved from drugs, alcohol or domestic abuse were here, we would not be able to stand shoulder to shoulder. How many of us can say we have done so much good? Tom would say, “ there were so many I didn't get to help, so many more.”

People always say it's going to be OK, the pain will go away. Well, both my parents, my sister, and now my big brother have passed, and I can tell you it's not OK. The pain doesn't go away, there is always a hole in your heart. What does happen however, is the extreme sadness that is bubbling over gets replaced with happy memories and joy for just the privilege of having known them.

Tom's wish was to remain in his home. From his dear granddaughters Beverly and Emily showering him with endless unconditional love, to his daughter Marjie there everyday making sure his distorted world from dementia was a safe and less scarey place, that his care was consistent and always present – to her husband Dennis never faltering in his support for Marjie and love for Tom, and to other family members help – Tom's wishes were carried out.

Tom's life was not always joyful, but he tried to spread joy, he didn't always smile but he tried to make you laugh. He was always there for me and I know he always will be. A man's life cannot be summed up by a few words on a prayer card, or said in church or said here. A life has meaning by those that carry his memory on – so today I give you his CHARGE – smile, laugh, seek joy, reach out to someone in need and really listen.

So Tom you may have been a great listener, but I hope you felt we listened too! It is important to say you've been a witness to someone's life but it is also important to say when it it time to say good-bye you have no guilt, no what if's. And so my friend, my golf buddy, my big brother, I say good-bye to you with great sadness, with love but no what if's.
 
       
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