Thomas Kennelly “Tom”
Tom was a generous, hard-working, and loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend to many. He passed away at home in Lowell, IN, on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Throughout his 61 years of life, he enjoyed spending time with his family, fixing things, taking road trips to Florida to go fishing, telling stories, making people laugh, working with animals, learning new things, driving his school bus, solving problems, and helping people in need. Tom was a funny, honest, generous, charismatic, reliable, and no-frills person who will always be remembered for his quick wit, entrepreneurial spirit, and can-do attitude. Tom was a man of many talents including storyteller, fisherman, car mechanic, farmer, handyman, plumber, chef, accountant, financial planner, builder, engineer, teacher, bus driver, dog trainer, computer technician, environmentalist, and entrepreneur.
Tom was born in 1959 to James and Catherine in Des Plaines, IL. He was the oldest of 8 children and took his role as the protector and defender of his siblings very seriously his entire life. His father James, mother Mary, and siblings Jim, Linda, Noreen, Marty, Nancy, Moira, and Sean loved him dearly and taught him to be proud of his Irish heritage and put family first. He was always a hard worker and started his first job as a paperboy when he was just 9 years old.
When Tom was 19, he met Peggy in college and they immediately knew that they had met the loves of their lives. They married in 1984, spent 36 wonderful years building a life together, and raised four beautiful and independent children. He loved his children Therese (and her husband Gideon), Jimmy, Annie, and Kathy dearly and devoted his life to teaching them everything. From asking them to solve word math problems during the car ride to school to introducing them to investing in the stock market, he was always looking for new ways to share knowledge and show them that they could learn anything. He instilled in them unconditional love, appreciation of the simple things in life, passion for learning, sense of humility, and the value of hard work and selflessness. He was always there to help them with life decisions both big and small.
Tom felt happiest when he was fishing on the pier in Panama City Beach, Florida, with his family. He loved the peacefulness of the ocean. He enjoyed having time to reflect, talk about life, teach his kids and Gideon how to fish, and learn from the fisherman around him.
He also loved the many wonderful animals he had throughout his life including his dogs Brownie, Major, Juniper, Jack, Max, and Yoko. Tom’s fascination with and love for animals, especially dogs, began when he was a child and continued to the day he passed when he was raising a litter of super dogs. He also loved learning and teaching people new things about animals through his pet store, farm, 4-H, and the Cedar Lake Fish and Game Club. His pet store (Bridgeport Pet Boutique) provided a place for our family (Peggy, his children, dad, and siblings) to come together and share our love of animals with the community for 20 years.
Throughout his life, Tom followed many different paths and always gave 110% to everything he did. He was never afraid to try something new or take a different path. His last job as a bus driver for the Tri-Creek School district brought him so much joy. He always prioritized the safety of his students and enjoyed hearing and sharing their stories with his family. Driving the bus reminded him of the days when he was driving his own kids to school.
Whenever anyone had a question or needed help with anything (moving, fixing their car, starting a new job, removing cockroaches from their old apartment etc.), Tom was always there right away with lots of advice, questions, and ideas. He was curious and loved to learn, ask questions, and teach others to do things regardless of the topic. Whether he was fixing a car with a piece of corn or teaching his dogs tricks in German, Tom approached life with perseverance and a turbo attitude. He was always open to trying new things and could fix anything. No challenge was too big for Tom. He taught us to work hard and value family before all else.
We will miss Tom every day for the rest of our lives. Every day he showed his family that he cared about us by sharing little snapshots of his day, creating videos of his dogs, checking in on our “status,” sharing articles he thought we should read, inviting us to play Ludo or Mexican Train games online, and asking us questions. These little moments showed us his incredible passion for life and love for his family. He would always make you smile with his sense of humor.
Most of all, we will miss his stories. His stories were epic, his smile could instantly light up the room, and his laugh would always make you feel better. Whenever he was telling a story, it was impossible not to smile and laugh along with him.
Tom was loved dearly by his family and friends. His love for developing others was cherished by many in his community. He was the person you called whenever you needed help. He was always happy to drop everything to help someone in need. He did everything and never asked for anything in return or wanted recognition. He was our rock. He was the hardest working person we’ve ever known. Now after 61 years of hard work, he will now be resting in peace and fishing with his dad in heaven.
We know that he loved us so much and will always be with us in our hearts. He will live on forever through our memories of him. We will always love you, Tommyboy.
Private Cremation through Sheets Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Lowell, IN.
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