March 5, 2015 by Julie A. Uebler, Esq.
“Father Tom,” my Mom’s cousin, died last week. It had been years since we saw him because he lived in Virginia, and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s. Even without seeing him, we felt good about his presence in the family. Father Tom was a Catholic priest, and served as our family’s connection to religious passages, including many baptisms, weddings and funerals. When he traveled to our area, Father Tom celebrated mass, and presided over my first Holy Communion amidst a large gathering of family, and lots of homemade Italian food.
Father Tom was larger than life and the life of the party, and had strong relationships with the many cousins in his generation. Whenever we were with him, Father Tom also took time to connect with those of us in the next generation, asking for an update on our activities and pursuits. I recall as if it were yesterday a conversation I had with him many years ago about practicing law. I was just a few years out of law school, a junior associate at a large law firm, making plenty of money, and representing well-known companies in employment matters. After listening to me go on about my work, Father Tom looked at me squarely and said, “You should be representing employees.”
At that time, I had no intention to do any such thing, and I had no foresight into how my life and my legal practice would evolve over time. I do know that when I had the rare chance to take a fresh look at the next steps in my career after my company was acquired the same month I had my first child, I vividly recalled Father Tom’s advice. Representing employees was exactly what I would do.
Everyone who knew Father Tom will miss his presence here, appreciate that he was a part of their lives, and know he will continue to monitor our progress. The experiences that shape our lives and careers are sometimes fleeting. I am glad I listened.
Details about the life and times of Monsignor Thomas J. Caroluzza can be found here.