Remembering Tom Conway
I really wish I didn’t have this material to post. As was the case one year ago, my Husband Joe had the task of giving a eulogy for a direct family member. Last July was Mom, now his Brother Tom Conway. He gave me a copy of his notes that he used during the service last Friday. It is in italics below.
Cherish your family members now while you have them, no matter how much you struggle to tolerate one another.
I was once again very proud of Joe for delivering an amazing remembrance for all the family and friends…and trust me there was plenty who made the journey from WI, Jersey, the Carolinas, the UP, or wherever they were.
Nobody forgets Joe’s speeches. He’ll make you laugh, cry, and affect you for a long time. The funniest part of the eulogy was when Joe put on a rubber cap to symbolize Tom’s balding head and made strange turkey-like noises that Tom was famous for. Everybody laughed, which stopped the tears for a moment.
He is now the youngest of 7 living siblings. Just a few years ago, that number was 9. All of the current Conway siblings were present and I think they grew even closer over the week we all spent together in CO.
I consider myself lucky to have a wonderful large family of my own, plus Joe’s family. I have spent a lot more time with the Conways recently and appreciate them more and more as time goes on. We have spent quality time together at weddings, funerals, and girls only trips.
If you are so inclined, I would encourage you to stop and take a moment to catch up with one of your siblings (if you are so lucky to have them) and let them know how much you appreciate them while you have them… Gotta run, headed over to my Sister’s place to spend some quality time.
Tom Conway’s Eulogy 07/22/2011
Hello everyone, I am Joe Conway, Tom’s youngest brother, …. I lived in Winter Park for 1 season in the mid 90’s, then moved down to Denver for a few years after that….
Over my lifetime, but especially during those years, I spent a lot of time skiing with Tom..
Tom loved the beauty of nature, the trees, the skies, and especially the snow that the mountain terrain brought to him. The bounty of Grand County also brought Tom back to his faith, and the Catholic Church, the church we sit in today and where he got to know father Michael quite well. [pause] This is the church that united Tom with many of the people who became his Winter Park friends [pause] I am happy to see so many local people here, many of whom I have come to know, respect and call my own friends over the last several days.
Prior to moving to Winter Park, Tom had previous lives, in Denver, where he attended Regis University, in Green Bay, where he grew up with his 1st family, as the 4th child and 2nd son in a large Irish Catholic family. That is where Tom developed his passion for the Green Bay Packers, a passion that even a casual friend of Tom’s is aware of … Also, in today’s congregation, I see Tom’s entire 1st family, his cousins his high school friends, his college friends, his ski friends and what I refer to as his Winter Park family, or his 2nd family. We all came to Winter Park, because we know that this is Tom’s home, and we are his guests here.
Most people in this audience know that Tom was an excellent skier, and when I say excellent, I would guess one of the top 5 on the mountain. Tom liked skiing the bumps at Mary Jane more than anything else, so that’s where he spent most of the winter, …well there and in the Club Car at the base of Mary Jane.
Tom skied the bumps aggressively, quickly and fluidly, on his long boards, never buying in on the shaped ski or snow board revolution. Being back here, I am reminded of a time that Tom and I were skiing Derailer, at the Jane. Tom was maybe 25 yards ahead of me, skiing on a powder day. Tom made a cut that put him almost on my fall line, so I was headed towards him. But (and this is VERY rare for Tom), he stuck both skis into the back side of a bump and flew out of his bindings. As he launched out of his skis, he had both of his arms over his head, like this, [ARMS UP} flying like superman, and making his trademark “Gobble Gooble Do” sounds. It seemed like he was actually going up, as the mountain faded away below him. I was laughing way too hard and Tom flew so far that he landed with a “Whump” on the Catwalk at the base of the run. I was still laughing so hard that I it seemed to take forever to get down to see if he was OK, but eventually, I laughed my way down to him. Tom kind of rolled off his belly, laughing and he said, “I may not have gotten my breath back if you weren’t laughing at me so much”
I am willing to bet that almost anyone you talk to in town, or at the Club Car would tell you that Tom literally FLEW on his skis. Growing up Tom, use to dream of flying, not in a plane or a rocket, but him, flying and seeing the world, or the universe. In more recent years, Tom took up motorcycling in the summer, where he would continue to capture that sense of flying.
Tom died probably less than 10 miles where I thought I might die on my motorcycle, back in 2007, when I hit a deer while descending pass on highway 125, just north of Granby. Tom was there then to pick up the pieces of my motorcycle, and I am here now to pick up the pieces he left behind.
But now, Every time I think of the events of last Saturday, July 16th, I can only imagine Tom flying through the air, a great big grin on his face, he may have had his arms up like superman and maybe even his bump run nirvana chant, the one he made as he really nailed a run at The Jane. you know it
[Arms Up] Gobble Gooble Doooo!
That would be Tom. Our friend, brother, relative went out with a smile, and a laugh, so we can miss him, but he’ll be mad at you if you feel bad for him, so please don’t
I believe this saying of unknown origin speaks perfectly of Tom’s attitude on life.
LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE
WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY
IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY,
BUT RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE,
THOROUGHLY USED UP,
TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND PROCLAIMING,
“WOW, WHAT A RIDE!!!
Tom Conway’s Remembrance site;
Subject: Motorcycle crash on US. Hwy 40 kills Fraser man
Link to the story: http://www.skyhidailynews.com/article/2011110719963
- Winter Park-Fraser Valley Hosts Winter Park Snowfest, Jan. 21-23 – Mary Jane Birthday Bash, Snow Sculpture Contest and Live Music Just Part of the fun (prweb.com)