Thomas
Thomas “Buddy” Afremow July 18, 1925 - April 26, 2006 Loving Father and Brother, Baseball player, Navy veteran, Insurance Agent, Recreational Therapy Specialist. These are some of the many talents and attributes that Thomas “Buddy” Afremow exhibited during his 80 year lifetime. Tom was born on July 18, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois, the second oldest and first son of the four children of George and Rose Afremow. He attended Eugene Field and Joyce Kilmer grade schools and was a varsity letterman in baseball, basketball and speed skating at Nicholas Senn High School, all located in northwest Chicago neighborhoods. He worked in his father’s drug stores as a soda jerk, delivery boy and waited on customers. He served in the U.S. Navy for several years including duty overseas during World War II. Following his honorable discharge he played professional baseball in the minor leagues throughout the northern states for many years with the Minnesota Minors, the Dickinson Packers and was a member of the Mandak League All-Stars. Though he never had the good fortune of playing in the major leagues, there were seasons when he had a higher batting average than players that made it to the “big” leagues. Tom then focused his energies on acquiring a college education. He attended DePaul University for two years and then graduated from Arizona State University where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree. After completing his college education, Tom worked as an insurance agent for several years and then moved to California with his family and became a Recreational Therapy Specialist with the Northern California Veterans Administration. At the Veterans Administration Hospital System in Martinez, CA, he worked with many hospitalized veterans taking them to baseball games, golf outings, bowling, running bingo games and showing movies. In addition to his job, he also volunteered in the hospital system which is something he really enjoyed and continued to do for several more years after he retired. He received several Certificates of Appreciation from the Department of Veteran Affairs, and even though Tom always tried to down play his accomplishments, he was especially proud of the “Presidential Citation” that he received in 2004 from President George Bush after he had completed more than 4, 000 hours of volunteer service. Tom was revered by his patients and colleagues alike. For the last few years Tom resided in the Los Angeles area where he could be near his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. He will always be remembered for his love of life, sunny disposition, keen sense of humor and amazing repertoire of jokes that always brought smiles and laughter to all who knew him. He was loved and will be missed by those that knew him. Thomas “Buddy” Afremow is survived by his sons George (Pam) and Thomas (Lara), his granddaughter Ashley, his grandson Michael, his former wife Charlene, his Sister Blossom Kaufman (Lenny), his brothers Art and Leonard (Anita). Memorial contributions: see "Charities" link

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  1. George,Tom and families I can not tell you how sorry I am to hear of your loss but remember that buddy will live on in your hearts and keep him alive in your childrens hearts by talking of him often and you have so much to tell them. I remember when I lived with you in Chicago and Buddy would come home from work and make us egg salad sandwichs, no one could make egg salad like he could. We would sit in the kitchen while he would tell us stories and jokes of course George you were playing with your cars and Tommy was hanging on dad. I always enjoyed being around Buddy and I will miss just knowing he will not be around. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Your Aunt Cheri

  2. Dear family of Buddy, we extend our deepest sympathy at this time. Would like to hear from Charlene, it’s been a long time. Sincerely, Lorraine.

  3. Dear George, Pam, Tommy, Lra and families, Was Tom (Buddy) a special person to me? Oh yes, very special. He always made me feel really comfortable when he was present. I will always remember his beautiful personality and humor. For many, many years, Buddy and his sons remembered me with a bouquet of a dozen roses for my birthdays and Mother’s Days. I got a dozen roses just four days before his death. What a guy! Grandpa Pekas also admired him very much. I will aways remember Buddy as a super guy, and he will be in my prayers. Love, Grandma Pekas

  4. i met tom in 1974when i was a senior at alhambra high school. i worked that summer in rec therapy at the va. hospital later i met him as a va patient. he cared more for the veterans at the hospital than any other empoyee in the thirty years i knew him. robert r. hubbard, friend and fellow veteran.

  5. It goes beyond saying the your Dad, Grandfather, friend was an exceptional person. I remember the first time I met him at Grandma & Grandpa Pekas’ 25th Wedding Anniversary and he made me feel like I was already part of the family and Dwayne and I were not even married at the time. I know that Dwayne had a tremendous amount of respect for him and loved him a lot. I know what impact the death of your beloved Tom/Buddy will have on your lives and I send my sincere condoloences to all of you. I know how much you will miss the hands that held you, the eyes that looked for you and the heart that loved you unconditionally. My love and prayers are with you at this time.

  6. My condlences to members of Tom’s family. I worked many Thursday evenings with Tom as VAVS Service rep of the VFW in the sixties. He was a great guy and I know he will be missed. Whenever I was in Martinez, I would look these last years for him, as the last time I saw him was a chance meeting on Alhambra Ave.All the Veterans and members of the sevice organizations will remember him for his outgoing personality and friendship.

  7. George, Tom and Family: It just broke my heart to see Tom’s obituary in the Contra Costa Times here in Martinez, CA. I actually cried. Oh God, not Tom! I met Tom while working here at the VA in Martinez. What a great funny guy, your father. He would always have time to chat. Everyday he’d ask how I and the family were doing – just small talk but he would do this with everyone he came in contact, especially with the veteran’s! You could over hear him chattin up a storm with the veterans, giving words of encouragement, maybe a harsh word here and there, shoot a few hoops and cracka few clean jokes. I can still here them now -a loud happy laughter! What a gem that Tom! If things weren’t going so good, you would know to leave Tom alone and let him walk it off. He’d be at work and then hit the streets of Martinez – just walking and walking – always on the go. The man was non-stop. But a few years ago, I saw Tom in the CREC. A much weaker man, suffering on the inside but still trying to make the best of his illness. Tom was very much loved here at the VA and I thank you for sharing your father with us. May Tom be at peace and May God Bless you, his beloved boys! With heartfelt sympathy, Mary Silva Human Resources Dept of Veterans Affairs Martinez, CA

  8. I first met Tom when I was 11-12 years old. he treated us younger girls like princesses and we all fell madly in love with him. As I grew up I saw his gentleness in so many ways. The thing I admire most about Tom is how wonderful he was with our mother. Holidays were always celebrated with flowers and calls. Only 4 days before Tom died she received a beautiful arrangement of roses. These I’ll dry so mom has them for years. I celebrate along with you the life of one good man. “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Love, Dorene

  9. Dear George, Pam, Tom and families I send you my sympathy for your loss. Watching the memorial video really brought back memories of Tom. His quick and ever present smile is what I remember the most. How he always made you feel special by enjoying my company. My very first memory of Tom would be when we still lived on the farm. Tom was the first person who married into our family. He befriended us with a sneaked piece of candy, allowing us our first sip of beer and having a fit of laughter over our reaction. Giving us rides on his shoulders, playing ball or just sitting and talking with us. Tom treated us like people not like children which was something new to me. I stayed with Tom and family in Chicago the summer Tommy was born. I remember feeling so out of my element but Tom always had patience in educating a country girl into the big city way of life, such as locked doors and intercom systems. He always made me feel safe and made it easy for me to feel at home. My last memory of Tom was on a family cruise. I hadn’t seen him in many years but that smile was there and his easy manor and wit remained the same. Tom will be missed but his memory will be carried on in our hearts. Love ReNae Ashland

  10. George,Pam and Family, Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. We are so sorry for your loss, And hope that all the loving memories you have with Tom will last forever… His smile, kind heart, and sense of humor will truly be missed. Love to all of you and God Bless you – The Murtha’s

  11. Dear George and Pam, We are very sorry for Tom’s passing. He will always be in our hearts and memories. He had such a great outlook on life and a wonderful sense of humor. He always had a joke or two. He will be missed, but we will remember all the good times we had together. With our deepest sympathy and love, Harry and Lila

  12. Dearest George and Thomas and family members, My heartfelt sympathy to you all. It is with great sadness in my broken heart that the love of my life, my dear friend and the kindest person I have ever known has been called home. The many years and times we shared together, (35) will always remain a treasure in my heart. He never forgot my birthday or Christmas, nor Valentine’s Day. I shall miss him so but I know Heaven shines brighter because he is there! When I gaze into the night sky and see a new bright shining star I will know it is Tom, for you’re not waiting far from me, you’re not waiting far from me. Love lives on and never leaves; a breath away’s not far to where you are! I know you are telling jokes to the angels and when you smile that beautiful smile of yours, it will light up all the Earth. We’ll meet again my darling love and friend and we’ll continue on where we left off. I know you will always be close. Thank you for all the love and friendship you gave me – I will never forget. I love you dearest Tom.

  13. To Charlene, George, Tom and all who you love and who love you. It has been a long time since I visited with Tom Sr. but I am emotiional thinking back to that time and realizing I must now rely on my memories. Tom (I knew him as Buddy) was a special person. He had such a unique special sense of humor. Although I write this with tears in my eyes I nevertheless caught myself laughing just thinking about those earlier times. Buddy met people with such an open heart, a full smile, and deep laughter. Buddy and each of you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I will see his face in every beautiful sunset. With all my love and sympathy

  14. Dear George & Pam – my deepest sympathy for your loss. Tom was indeed a special guy, absolutely amazing in his ability to find humor in virtually any situation. I hope that you are aware of how much Tom enjoyed and appreciated the various family outings with your family, and how very much your efforts on his behalf meant to him. He obviously loved you deeply.

  15. Tears streaming down my face while watching the Life Tribute video, I need to listen to Thomas’s advice “No Tears…Just Beers” more often. While I never met him, I have met the results of that kind of “full throttle joy” that is all over his face–I hear it in George’s laugh and I see it in Charlene’s smile when she talks about him. His death will give me more life with laughter and I would be deeply honored if my son created such a moving tribute when I leave the planet…Fly high angel

  16. George and Family: I am so sorry for you loss. What an incredible man and what an incredible person to have shared your life with. Love, Will Joseph

  17. Tom personalized each relationship he had with those he met. He seemed to know what you ‘needed’ from him…Whether it was encouragement, humor that you thought you lost, or a handkercheif from his back pocket to wipe a baby’s nose. Though I worked with Tom only a few years at the VA, and or course, it seemed like I had known him forever. We miss you, Tom.

  18. Dear Family, You have been in our thoughts at this time. I am late in writing but not late in silently wishing you all the fondest memories of your dad. He was with you for a long time and you were lucky to have a good one. We are thinking of you. Stephanie Ritscher and family

  19. Dear George, “Tommy”, Charlene and Families, It’s unfortunate I never had the opportunity to meet Thomas/Buddy as it’s apparent he made quite an impression on everyone who knew him. I was touched by the memorial video and couldn’t help but notice the smile that lit up every picture. I realize I’m late in signing this but my thoughts and prayers go out to each of you. Love, Wendy

  20. HI GEORGE & TOMMY, I WANTED TO SHARE MY BEST MEMORY OF BUDDY. WHENEVER I SAW HIM I WAS ALWAYS SO IMPRESSED WHAT A HANDSOME AND WELL DRESSED MAN HE WAS. ALSO HE HAD SUCH AN AMAZING SMILE WHICH I SAW MANY TIMES IN THE BEAUTIFUL VIDEO. HE MUST HAVE BEEN SO PROUD OF HIS SONS.

  21. i am sorry dear family of tom. i forgot to say i am praying for all of you in your time of sorrow.i misstom because you could feel his warm presence when he entered a room . he often talked about how proud he was of his son who lived in sweden and his other children.please contact me if you wish.iwill be with tom later in heaven.and we will play baseball and bocce ball.

  22. Our deepest sympathies on your loss of this wonderful gentleman. We were neighbors of Buddy and his family in Niles, Il and enjoyed knowing such a caring person who always had a joy of life and its opportunities. Our best wishes to George, Tommy and Charlene who we have fond memories of our apartment days on Milwaukee Avenue.

  23. Yesterday, May 30th, 2006, Tuesday morning at 10:00am we held a special BINGO Tribute in honor of Tom. We began by saying that a dear friend and Recreation Staff, volunteer and veteran was a tremendous part of the Recreation Program here at the CREC as well, had served many years at the old hospital. Before I had even finished speaking people were nodding, raising their hands and commenting. Many of our vets remembered Tom from the old hospital and agreed that he was a vital part of our VA. We told a story now and then and awarded folks who BINGOed on “Tom numbers” which are “I TOO TOO (I 22), B SEVAUGHN (B7) a special TSHIRT. We celebrated Tom’s life serving Sherbert (which was one of Tom’s favorites, although he liked yoghurt better. I believe that people could feel his presence and wit yesterday.

  24. Our loss is heavens’ gain. Thank you for your wonderful comments, and warm wishes. I know he will be missed by those that knew him- I miss him daily. From your remarks I can see he died a successful man. Whether being a loving father or a true friend; or serving countless hours of selfless volunteering or simply telling a joke- he succeed in his life with what was most important to him; bringing joy to others. Like his father before him, I know the legacy of his altruistic nature will be carried on for generations to come. Here are a few other words which seem appropriate in describing my father’s spirit: Authentic: true to one’s own personality. Compassionate: feeling or showing compassion. Humorous: full of or characterized by humor. Unwavering: marked by firm determination or resolution. Eternal: being without beginning or end. God Bless You, Dad! 😉 Enjoy your rest, I know you deserve it. Love, T.

  25. The beautiful memories you’ve gathered through the years are yours to keep forever. Tom will be truly missed and his family is in our thoughts and prayers. Steve, Teri, Matt, Erica and Andrew Hazzard.

  26. To My Two Wonderful Sons: I am so proud of you, the love and commitment you expressed in supporting Dad through all the years. As we know, Dad was the BEST Dad one could wish for. George, his generosity and love lives on in your love for Ashley and Michael. And, will in your love for your Baby daughter, Thomas, to be born August 17th. Thank you for everything you did to support him with his hip and knee surgeries and to ensure the quality of his life these past few years. Thank you George for making sure he got to know Ashley and Michael at a time that was essential to his and their lives. Since he was such a sportsman, there is nothing that could replace those times at the ball field and his cheering for both of them. Thank you for that. Thomas, he would have loved to share in your daughter’s life. I’m sorry he won’t get to. Pam, thank you for being a special “daughter” to him and for giving of your time and love. You did so many things for him while George was getting his Executive Masters. You listened and shared with him which I know meant so much to him. Thank you. Always remember your grandmother’s love continued throughout Dad’s life. He always remembered her birthdays and the holidays. Also know that my brothers and sisters loved, respected and enjoyed time with him. They too will miss him. As your Uncle Jerry’s card said to me “A golden sunset lasts only for a moment, then fades away, but the memory of its beauty lingers in our hearts long after it is gone”. Always and Forever, Love, Mom

  27. Dear George, Pam, Ashley and Michael, This has been a year of loses and memories. This exerpt from a poem by David Whyte relates our thoughts: “Your passion was our priviledge. You were a Whitman of your world and I salute you and thank you in the style necessary to your faith. I imagine you here in your old way, looking over my shoulder to make a summary, a last line, by way of parting. Something, wild, ungovernable, and true.” His love will always be a part of you. God Bless you all in your sorrow. Lisa and Rick

  28. Dear George, Pam, Thomas, Lra, your children, and all those who mourn Buddy’s loss…. We share your sorrow at losing your father (Buddy to us) so recently. He was a VERY good, decent, and kind human being, and a wonderful father. We always enjoyed his company, and we are so grateful that we were able to share some time with him again in the past year. To say that we will miss him and his humor is an understatement. As you read the following, please know that we truly believe your Dad will live on in the memories you carry with you in your hearts. It is said that a person hasn’t died as long as they are remembered. This prayer is a way for families, and friends to remember our loved ones who have gone on before us. “Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning hush, I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.” —-Native American Prayer. Love always, Erlyce, Myron and family

  29. Dear George, Tom, Charlene, and your families, My heartfelt sympathy. I did not have the good fortune to know Tom (Buddy), I’m sorry for that. Loren spoke very affectionately of him. I do know that he was very loved and his passing will be mourned by many. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. Love always, Lori Pekas

  30. I may not have a lot of memories -but the memories I have of Buddy are good ones – we had an especially good time on the family cruise years ago. Our family sends our sympathy and empathy (we experienced the death of Dammika’s father last year) and we understand the love and the pain that you’re going through. We love you and we mourn your loss.

  31. We send our sympathy to the entire family. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all as you remember and celebrate the wonderful life and memories of Thomas. Jodi & Dane Tollefson

  32. George and Tom: We are sorry for your loss and our thoughts are with you and your families. Love, Nikki and Chloe Weisgerber and Jasel Gilberg

  33. My deepest condolences to the family, Sunna will hopefully carry on the Afremow traditions as much as anyone else. God Bless!

  34. candle 7Its always very sweet to hear about your grandparents but I am very happy to have found this because sadly I was born after his death but to see such lovely things said about him and to see that he was such an amazing person just warms my heart.

    Dear grandpa I’m sad to say that I couldn’t meet you but I am happy to know that you have influenced so many people with your good deeds and I hope you know that I really miss you.
    Love Bryndis

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