An Ode to Tommy: An O’Connor Employee Hall of Famer

Well, it’s finally happening – Tommy is leaving us. Tommy is a Service Director here at O’Connor and he will soon be retiring and moving back to his well-loved, native land of New Jersey.

In the 8 years that Tommy has spent at O’Connor he has carved a deep place for himself in the family of our staff. His thick New Jersey accent, dynamite wit, and unfailing compassion for every person that walks through our doors are just some of the reasons why we love Tommy so much. He will leave behind him a place that no one will be able to fill. We are honored to have worked along side you, Tommy, and to have all been touched by your charisma, charm and spunk.

The staff was asked to jot down their “Tommy story” and below you will see some of the many, many ways that Tommy has touched and made our lives so much better.

We love you Tommy!

(If you have a “Tommy story” of your own, please share it in the comments at the bottom of the page.)

The man himself

The man himself

Tommy –

I am truly thankful for the care, compassion and gentle touch you have given our community & families.

You have been a great leader in our company & our profession. You have always led with an open heart & an open mind.

What’s not to like about Tommy? I am grateful that you came into our lives; you have made a difference to us.

If you have to leave please don’t forget about us. We love yous! XO

– Neil

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Tommy life lessons.

There is no such thing as a bad idea, however, there is such a thing as a bad idear…

If you are from Jersey everybody is your goombata, unless they are not…

Enjoy life, smile, have fun and for goodness sake remember, a martini a day will keep whatever you want away…

We will miss you big guy thanks for the memories…

– Chuck

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The lesson I learned from Tommy is that it is ok the have vices.

Tommy’s 5 Favorite Vices

1. French Fries

2. Potato Chips

3. Women

4. Booze

5. And did I mention Women

Tommy has an innate ability to connect with people and he served our families with compassion and professionalism. I am grateful to him for this. He has left an indelible mark on our business and our team.

– Fitz

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Tommy caring for our vehicles - meticulous as always.

Tommy caring for our vehicles – meticulous as always.

On the subject of Tommy McMahon, there are not enough superlatives in the languages of the world, known or forgotten, to explain the caring and connecting person that we have come to know and love.  Tommy has taught me the value of connecting with people.  All people.  Any people anywhere and anytime.  I have yet to meet anyone who is so quick to engage “strangers” (as if there were such a thing in Tommy’s world) and have them smiling and laughing with him in mere moments.  Tommy is welcoming and comforting in all his encounters with those who are broken hearted.

I can recall a family with whom I had made arrangements, coming in for a family viewing, and I wanted to greet them early so that I might introduce them to Tommy.  The family had arrived early without my knowing it and I arrived ready to introduce them only to find that Tommy had met them at the door and knew where they were from, how many kids and grandchildren they had, the keypad code to their vacation cabin on Lake Michigan and their preferred passwords for their Swiss accounts….  OK, that is overstated, but really Tommy!?  You knew more about they family in five minutes than I did after hours of being with them.

Tommy knows how to listen.  He has mastered the nuances of gaining people’s trust because he is trustworthy.  He is truly interested in and cares for other people because he is confident in who he is.  He is one of those rare “whole hearted” souls.  He has given me courage to engage people, the boldness to offer the comfort of a listening ear and a little humor when it is needed the most.

Here’s to Tommy McMahon!

-Jeff

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“Warmest Regards”

– Tom

*Disclaimer: This is an inside joke, Tom’s a really nice guy ; )

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I really don’t know what to say other than we will miss Tommy–his Jersey accent and attitude, the wonderful old songs he sings all the time, and his great sense of humor.  Tommy McMahon is quite simply the best!

– Rosemary

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I was hired three years ago to “replace” Tommy because he’ll be going part-time and leaving in a year or so. Well he ended up giving the company a three-year notice. But it also gave me few years to learn the ropes of service directing from him. Thanks Tommy for teaching me and helping me serve our families better.

– Jon

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Having only known Tommy for less than a year, it feels like I’ve known this Jersey stud for years. Whenever Tommy’s in the room, his presence is always felt. All the advice and stories he’s shared will stay with me forever. I will miss the impromptu dance sessions we have in the break room or listening to him sing while he’s sitting at the computer.

If you’ve never met Tommy and get the privilege to one day meet him, ask him what his 5 vices are!

– Lauren

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I met Tommy McMahon a little more than 8 years ago.  I had recently moved into an “Active Senior” community and one day my daughter and I were hanging around at the pool, when Tommy immediately struck up a conversation.  After learning that he was working part time at a nearby shop, my daughter and I told him about O’Connor.  The rest is history . . . and he became one of our greatest assets.

Tommy is fearless when it comes to making a connection with a family. He is engaging and sincere, and shows genuine care for those he serves.  When my grandson Michael came to work for O’Connor, he told me that he wanted to be the next “Tommy.”  In my estimation, Tommy, whose integrity, wit and depth of understanding, has become the ultimate teacher. I cannot think of anyone I would want more to mentor my grandson.

Thank you, Tommy, from the bottom of my heart, for your service, you caring and your dedication to the O’Connor family.  You have made an imprint that will last for generations.

Lovingly,

– Pat

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Tommy,

Because I work part time and in the back building, most of our interaction has been on a “Hi, how are you doing” basis and a little bit of small talk here and there. But, one day I did have the opportunity to ask you about your hobby of visiting celebrity graves.   Growing up back east as a kid, my friends and I used to play in the cemeteries and we would read  the headstones of those who died hundreds of years ago. It was mind boggling, especially reading how young they were when they died back in those days. So, I do have an appreciation of your “unusual” hobby, and was very entertained hearing about the different celebrity graves you visited and how you found out where they were buried. Thank you for sharing that with me. It was memorable.  Your thoughtfulness in giving the ladies little holiday gifts was also very much appreciated.

I wish you lots of happiness and good health.  Never lose that great sense of humor.

– Elinor

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Tommy & Gail at the 2009 O'Connor Christmas Party

Tommy & Gail at the 2009 O’Connor Christmas Party

My favorite memory of Tommy McMahon is one completely unrelated to work. I was lucky enough to have Tommy drive myself and 7 other crazy High school seniors to my Prom night in the limo. He picked us up at my house in Long Beach, drove us to the Acapulco at the Marina Pacifica, and then all the way over to the Sea Breeze (Bay Breeze? Ocean Breeze? who knows?) in Huntington Beach. The entire time, he cracked jokes, asked me about life, and told us all to be safe on this night of fun yet possible recklessness. He was a true professional in those moments, and continued to prove his professionalism as a coworker, friend, and mentor. I’m gonna miss that old guy.

– Michael

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I have known Tommy for 7 years. From the second I met him he has always made me feel as we have been life long friends. Regardless of the age gap between us, we seem to have several things in common. I enjoy my random chatters with him about 50s movies and old time actors to current events. The best thing about Tommy as that he is a joker. My best memories with Tommy are filled with loud laughter because we have the same wicked sense of humor. I will definitely be missing Tommy when he is gone. He is someone I look forward seeing everyday when I come to work because he is the funniest guy in town!!!

– Joanna

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Tommy will always be my “Sugarplum”. I brought cupcakes in for the team a couple of times and from there our nicknames had begun . . . I am “Cupcakes” and he is my “Sugarplum”.  Tommy is funny, charming and kind.  It is no surprise that our families love him.  He is the ultimate party-planner and always at the center of a good time.  Tommy has a heart of gold and will drop everything to help a friend in need.

It is too hard to imagine what work will be like without Tommy there to give me a whistle and a hug.  He will leave a void that is irreplaceable.

– Lori

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From my very first day on the job I knew Tommy was a great guy loved by the entire O’Connor family. I love his laugh and sense of humor. He is a true leader who is always willing to go the extra mile and get the job done.

– Becky

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Tommy is such a kind hearted person, even though he is from the East coast and has a hard look about him, he has always been the funniest, most gentle, and helpful person to be around. When I first started here at O’Connor I would love to get put on services with Tommy because he would find time before every service to give me the run down of exactly what was going to happen and what to do and how to do it and I just found him to be so helpful, not only that but he made it fun. One service we worked during a eulogy, the speaker told everyone to look around and tell the person next to you that you love them, he taps me on the shoulder and says “Jenn, I love ya” it was a funny moment for us but I know that he respects and loves all of us and we will miss him dearly. Best of luck to you Tommy, please don’t forget us, I wish I had more time to spend in your company but I will remember you forever!

– Jennifer

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Tommy has always made me laugh. His quick wit, sarcasm, and his own love of laughing make him such a delightful person to be around. But then there’s the strong compassion, the considerate & thoughtful side that is so genuine. Tommy, you are a gem & we are the worse for loosing you. Thanks for the fun at San Juan Summer Nights & that kiss for Bryce that we’ll never forget!

-Molly

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Tommy brought to me so many great and interesting stories that I can’t even choose one to share.  But what I will share is that Tommy was always “Tommy.”  Fun, kind, helpful, generous, polite, charming and great to be around, whether it was directing services or hanging out socially.  Everyone loves Tommy.  He is and will always be an inspiration to me.

-Chris

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I think Tommy definitely has eyes in the back of his head. He moves so quietly and with such a determined focus that one would think his attention is directed elsewhere; then, BAM, with his genteel New Jersey accent, he directs a verbal jab in my direction that, ever so gently, can cut one up like a knife. I appreciate his humor and his sense of purpose and I wish him and his wife well in their new adventure.

– Greg

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My Tommy story is…

While directing a Catholic Funeral Mass, Tommy & I were inside the church, participating in the service.  When it came time to greet the person next to you & say “Peace be with you”, he gave me the biggest, most genuine hug ever.  From that day on, we made sure we were in the church during that part of the service so we could hug & let each other know how much we appreciated working together.  Tommy is one of the most wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

– Carrie

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On a few occasions, Tommy has come into one of my appointments because he knows the family I am meeting with and stops to say “hello”. It has given me a chance to see another “friendlier” side to Tommy! His friends always tell me what a great guy he is after he leaves!

We will miss him.

– Sharon

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I found Tommy to be a neat guy to have around.  He had fun, but he took his work very seriously and if it was part of his domain, it was done and done right.  He knew how people would want to be treated on services and treated them that way.

What an asset.

I loved hearing about Tommy’s personal hobby of documenting and visiting the graves of famous people. He is one of the good guys and his reputation in many areas will be remembered, long after his name is carved into his own stone.  Luv ya, Mr. T.

– Anne

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Tommy doesn’t miss an opportunity to get to know new people.  He has an amazing way of making you feel important, and interesting.

He has touched so many lives and caused them to feel important and interesting.  Thank you Tommy for being one of the most genuine guys I know.  You really are right up there with Sinatra in my mind.  Love you Sir!!

– Kari

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Well there really is no better way to explain how much we care for Tommy, other than to say… TOMMY, we will miss you so very much. The quality I love best about our Tommy is his ability to make every person he meets, feels as though he has known you forever. There are so many stories that I am sure everyone can share with one commonality being Tommy’s radiant personality. There is never a dull moment when you are around Tommy. It has been 6 years since the first day I met Tommy, which was my first day here at O’Connor. I will never forget how nervous I was, making it through my first day in a new place. Next thing I knew, there was this gentleman at the end of the hall, wearing a strange looking Ivy Cap shouting . . . “hey blonde, I’m Tommy . . . From that point on, I knew I was going to enjoy working with this guy.

Throughout the 6 years, I have become to think of Tommy, not just as a coworker, but a friend that I look forward to chatting with about everything, from great wines that we enjoy, to his random stories about “absolutely nothing” 🙂

I can really go on and on sharing how great it is to have met Tommy and share 6 years with him, but what I will cherish the most are the memories that we have made that have come from those stories and that is what I will keep with me forever . . . until next year Tommy (and I better see you next year) I miss you already Tommy and yes, I do . . . Love you! 🙂

Love, Elser

Molly Keating

About Molly Keating

Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.
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  • Lori

    Tommy,
    I had dinner with Betty and Diane last night, those crazy Saddleback ladies. I can tell you that a good portion of the evening was filled with discussion of you. “Tommy hasn’t left yet, has he?” “When is he leaving?” “It won’t be the same without him.” “We miss him already.”
    You, my Sugarplum, have touched so many people.
    I teared up reading this blog because I already anticipate the void in my heart that will be left when you are gone.
    Thank you for your willingness to help with my multiple car problems. For your listening ear when I need it. For your offers to walk my puppies…………..
    Truly it will take a long time for life at O’Connor to resume a new normal.
    You are loved…….
    Cupcakes

  • John Horan

    Tommy and friends at O’Connor’s, I am a faithful reader of this blog and this edition has touched me greatly. It is all too rare in today’s world to celebrate the greatness of people around us, people like Tommy McMahon.

    Neil, it must make you very proud to read the comments of your co-workers. God speed, Tommy.

    John Horan
    Horan & McConaty
    Denver, CO

    • Patricia Kolstad

      John . . . thank you so much for acknowledging our special guy!

    • Neil O’Connor

      John –
      Thank you for your faithfulness as a friend and blog follower! We Irish need to stick together, you and Tommy define “Class”. Tommy has charm, wit & the gift of gab, he will be missed by all! Cheers

  • Becky Finch Lomaka

    Molly,
    Wonderful blog to celebrate a wonderful man!! I will miss you Tommy!!

  • Patricia Kolstad

    Hey Tommy . . . can’t wait to make a trip to Jersey! I don’t think any of us will know the extent of missing you until the time comes when you leave us. Our team will have to learn to live without you’re smile, your wit and your genuine friendship. It has been such a pleasure knowing you.
    Lovingly,
    Pat
    PS: The Remington will probably fold up and blow away . . .

  • Neil O’Connor

    Tommy
    I have tried to surround you with many reasons not to leave us……………….! I can only do so much to try and sway you. I know you are going east for the best reason possible, family. I will miss you and your positive outlook on life. You have touched many of us, you will always be near us in our hearts. Thank you for all the care, compassion & love you have given us. Enjoy your new journey!

  • Anne

    Molly,
    We have two buildings full of great people, but when you think about this place void of Tommy’s body, his 2 cents, his “is that it, Fitz, or Joe” (or whoever is trying to be funny)??, so he can clap, you know we will never be void of his “presence”. Thanks for providing the forum for this honor to a neat guy.
    Love Annie

  • Carrie Bayer

    I’m going to miss Tommy so much but our loss is his family’s gain. There is nothing more precious than family & I’m glad he’s moving back to NJ to be with them. Love, Carrie

  • Diane Ferdig

    Tommy,
    Betty and I are so going to miss your smiling face, your humor and above all your professionalism. You are a top notch kind of guy and I wish you nothing but the best in the future. Good luck in Jersey and enjoy each and every moment that you have with your family!
    Love and best wishes,
    Diane Ferdig

  • amy

    Tommy,
    It has been a pleasure to work with you as well as get to know you. I have enjoyed the many stories you shared with about your many journeys to cemeteries taking photos of tombstones of all sorts of people. Your outgoing nature and ability to connect with people is a blessing. You will be truly missed. Enjoy your new journey.
    Amy

  • Shasta Thompson

    Tommy! I’m so bad at saying goodbye, I think I’m still in denial that you will be leaving us 🙂 I have loved working with you the past 3 years, you are so funny and such a people person that you were probably the first person I felt comfortable with when I started. I will always remember all of your scrapbooks, and when you got me ice cream at that one service! I know you are loved by so many and obviously the most popular guy at the Remington! Best wishes in Jersey, and you better come back to visit us! Also, thank you for my Fishy he is so cute!

  • Shayna Mallik

    Wow Molly what a great blog and very nicely written about our dear coworker, and more importantly friend. I have had the privilege to work with Tommy for almost 2 years and he is an incredible person. He is caring, funny, kind and compassionate and a great example of how we should all be. He is an amazing additional our team and will be greatly missed. He is what we should all stive to be like here at O’Connor. You can tell just from talking to him for a few minutes how kind and sincere he is. The families love Tommy, and I enjoy seeing him interact with each family he touches. Our families are so lucky to have met and had Tommy on each transfer, or service he has done for the company. I know I will miss my buddy, and miss him saying “your in my way again”. Thank you fo everything you have taught me Tommy. Miss you!

    <3 Shayna

  • Jenn

    Tommy! I love you babe! 🙂 I already miss you and I know you will quickly adapt to life and a new home and friends in New Jersey but never forget your family “behind the Orange curtain”. I wish you the best in everything you do!

  • Christopher Iverson

    Molly,

    Thank you for putting together this tribute to my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE Senior Funeral Director. Missing Tommy is an a gigantic understatement. New Jersey just got better.

  • Elsa

    No other words to express, other than…..”Tommy, if I win the lottery, will you stay?” 🙂
    ~~Elsa

    • tommy

      YES…..6 months here 6 months there.

  • Samantha LaVoie

    Tommy sure will be missed and Is a wonderful man who will bring laughter wherever he goes and whoever he meets along his new journey. 🙂