January 8, 2013

Thomas Farbotko


---- — WEST CHAZY — Thomas Farbotko left this earth on Dec. 31, 2012. Born in Naliboki, Poland, Dec. 21, 1941.

He was a graduate of Beekmantown Central; SUNY Canton, and attended Heald Engineering College, San Francisco, Calif. studying electrical engineering before being drafted in 1965. Thomas served proudly in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. He along with his two brothers and father were master masons running their family business, A. Farbokto and Sons.

Thomas lost his battle to cancer but his spirit lives on with his loving wife of 45 years, Sandra Jock Farbokto; his two daughters, Aleena Olarte and husband Hamilton of N.C., Marisha Cowles and husband Brian of Seattle, Wash.; as well as two beautiful granddaughters, Makayla and Daniella Olarte; his brothers, Stanley Farbotko and wife Lisa, and John Farbotko and wife Linda; and sisters, Anna Sherman and husband Roderick, and Wanda Esser and husband Paul, along with their families are left with his loving memory.

Pre-deceasing him were his parents Albert and Aleksandra Farbotko.

Thomas was born during WWII and his early impressionable years were filled with turmoil and horror, he along with his parents and brother survived the Naliboki massacre where they were among the few fortunate male survivors. They were forced to leave their beloved homeland during Nazi occupation only to enter Nazi Labor Camps for five years; fighting off other children for bread scraps tossed by German soldiers was an early childhood memory Thomas shared with his older brother. His parents, brother, and two sisters born in the camps finally immigrated to this country in August of 1949. As a seven year old, coming to this country speaking only Polish and German, he quickly learned a new language and culture as only young kids can do. Thomas loved this country but his heart and soul were Polish. He shared his traditions and Polish stories with his daughters, nephews, nieces, and family, making sure they too remembered their roots.

Thomas was a strong, proud man with a tender, compassionate heart. He could fix anything electronic or build anything with a trowel. His masonry talents and reputation were renowned and along with his brothers and father he left his mark in many North Country homes, churches, hospitals, schools, fire stations and airports. He loved history and learning about his beloved Poland and America. He served as an interpreter at the US Customs. He enjoyed watching National Geographic and History Channel. He was a devoted NASCAR fan. He was an avid golfer before his illness and couldn't resist swinging a club when taking one of his last rides on a golf cart with his great nephew as recently as this past summer. He was a dedicated Cardinal Hockey fan. He hated to miss cheering at any of the home games. Watching the games streamed on the computer in the hospital brought Thomas great joy.

He loved his family and shared in the achievements of his daughters and granddaughters and equally found joy in those of his nephews and nieces. Family was an important part of his life and he never missed an opportunity to celebrate get- togethers, birthdays, baptisms, graduations, weddings, holidays or family dinners. At many of those gatherings Thomas, playing his harmonica or accordion, would entertain the family. He enjoyed music, playing his trumpet, piano, or organ, as much as he enjoyed casting out his fishing line.

Thomas was just fun to be around. His knowledge and expertise served him well but it was his positive attitude and sarcastic wit that gave him and those around him courage and emotional strength. Thomas was a working man with integrity and strong character, he left this earth a better place, one filled with beautiful stone churches, warm fireplaces, and heart-filled memories.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Griffin, the nurses, the nurses' aides and staff of R5 at CVPH for the loving care they provided Thomas.

Calling hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 at R.W. Walker Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, West Chazy.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Thomas may be made to AGAPE Hospice Service, 1053 Center Street, West Columbia, S.C. 29169 to assist in the care of his daughter, or St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105 or the FitzPatrick Cancer Center at CVPH, 75 Beekman Street, Plattsburgh, N.Y. 12901.

On line condolences may be made to Arrangements are in the care of the R. W. Walker Funeral Home, 69 Court St. Plattsburgh.