Thomas (Tom) William Kush, beloved dad, papi, uncle, brother and friend, “moved on to a higher plane” as he would say, May 25th, 2021, following a stroke.
Tom was born in Chicago, IL, to Charles and Joanna (née Altenkamp) Kush and grew up in Lake Zurich, IL. He was the fifth of nine children. As the middle child, he exhibited his independence (some might call it rebelliousness!) early. Whenever something had mysteriously broken, gone missing or otherwise awry at home, the first question was “Where’s Tom?!” But he was also beloved by his parents and siblings for his sense of humor, his innate skill at music-making, his athleticism and his charm.
He was drafted into the Army during Vietnam and served in Fairbanks, Alaska. Upon his discharge, he moved to Spokane for a time, before settling on Vashon Island in 1974. The way Tom told it, he came for a party and he never left! He rented the house where the party was held and, although he moved houses many times after that, he was an islander the rest of his days.
Tom loved his work as a carpenter and contractor and built and remodeled many island homes. He created lasting friendships with his clients and relished the network of builders, tradespeople, store owners and clerks he worked with over the years. Going to the store was a social event for him, and he would often sing his way through the aisles as if announcing his presence and good mood.
Tom was skilled at appreciating the good in the everyday. He loved his daily grocery shopping and running into friends there. He loved a good espresso, crossword puzzles and Jeopardy. He loved making himself, and others, laugh. In recent years, Tom was able to enjoy a bit more free time. He was extremely fond of his back deck overlooking the creek. He loved the view from the knoll nearby, where he watched what he called the “Last Vestiges” of the day; otherwise known as the sunset. When he had company in these, all the better.
He was a devoted and loving parent, passing along lessons in proper construction, music appreciation, obscure words and ridiculous colloquial phrases. His love for his kids was unmatched. Tom is predeceased by his parents and by two sisters Jackie Turek, the eldest sibling, and Elizabeth Gotto, the youngest. He is survived by his daughter Jenna (Justin Scoltock); sons Devin, Spencer and Collin; four sisters, Gerry (Wayne) Gregersen, Carol (Mike) Peterson, Linda Kush, and Judy (Larry) Cusack; and two brothers, Mark and Matt Kush; as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and beloved friends.
There will be a memorial celebration of his life Saturday, July 24th. Details are available at The Burton Coffee Stand.