Who is Thomas John Grzybowski? If you asked him, he would say he was nobody, just another speck of star dust floating through space that landed on planet Earth and happened to be born into
being. Those who knew him would say he was a stubborn man with a strong will bound by the bonds of his word and love for those around him. The type of person who never knew a stranger, often lending an ear to those in need
because of his understanding that acceptance arises through
validation. Someone who believed that life is too short, so why not take as many breaks as possible to soak it all in; that growing old is not for the young of heart or for those who have not lived their life fully. He vehemently believed he was always right about everything because the words, "I told you so" always followed. Therefore, any errors made were written on the calendar as a reminder to everyone, himself included, that he was still human. Even still the calendar notations
never happened often enough, leading him to believe he knew it all and who is to say he did not?
Thomas was born in Dayton, Ohio, on December 6, 1948, to Paul and Cecilia Grzybowski, (both who have passed from this world - 1999 and 2008). Tom was raised with his younger
sister, Anne (married to Ron DiSalvo) and brother, Jim Grzybowski, who are both living their lives along with
children and grandchildren. Before Tom graduated high school, he learned how to play the accordion and started the band, Polka Playboys, with his brother. The Group was so
popular amongst the Polish community in Dayton, Ohio, they were booked every weekend for two years in advance. Tom decided to put the music aside and joined the Army. He served for over 6 years in the U.S. Army leading ground-based satellite communications in Germany during the Vietnam War. There, his ability to drink and play accordion made him
immensely popular amongst the locals and still to this day the town where he was stationed has not changed one bit!
While in Germany, he and his first wife, Judy, became parents to their daughter Tamara. While still in Germany, after going their separate ways, Tom met and married his second wife, Sylvia, and had another daughter, Tina Marie (married to Jurgen Dannenhauer) who has two beautiful children of her own, Kevin and Dennis Kimmel.
After his military tour was finished, he moved back to America (after having divorced his second wife) and took a job with Wendy's International. Quickly proving his competence as a Store Manager, he was promoted to Operations Manager of a five-state area and got to know Dave Thomas on a first name basis. During this time, tired and weary from constant traveling, he stopped into a bar, when he was asked by Cynthia Louise Vest if she could buy him a drink to which he responded, "I only drink Jack Daniels and Champagne." They quickly fell in love and the next year they got married on the 4th of July 1981, so he would always remember the date and have fireworks to celebrate their anniversary. When her first assignment with AAFES was Hawaii, he quit his job with Wendy's and followed her around the world while she worked as a baker and eventually the Main Store manager of Fort Lewis PX.
Eight years after their marriage, his only son, Paul Lawrence Grzybowski, was born and this is when he decided to be a stay-at-home dad. The years were filled with Halloween and Christmas decorations, home renovations, several moves around the world from Guam, Korea, Okinawa, Texas, Washington State and Georgia.
Once Cynthia retired in July 2005, they bought 7 acres in Appling, GA, and began building the life he had always dreamed of, a small farm where he could stay busy and live out his days in nature's peace. When Paul went to college, many dogs and cats were brought in to fill the void his leaving made. Though Tom always presented a tough-guy facade, you could tell he had a soft heart for all four-legged creatures. The Appling property prospered hosting a large barn with multiple milk goats, small barn for the boy goat, pig barn which often held two pigs, two chicken coups filled with 40+ chickens, an orchard, indoor garden, outdoor garden, apiary, and enough fencing to allow the animals to roam the
Sadly, on March 27, 2021, Thomas passed in this sleep without warning and no sign of cause. He had always said he would never grow old and leave the house feet first, both of which came true. Though the void of his presence will be impossible to fill, we should all be so lucky to live life so fully and leave on our own terms. Tom is survived by his wife, Cindy, his son, Paul, daughters, Tamara and Tina and younger siblings, Anne and Jim. Per his wishes he was cremated and on Easter Sunday some of his ashes were mixed with wildflower seeds and spread around the orchard to make a Memorial Garden, so
every year he may rise again with "Brother Jesus", as he called him.
Though he never felt like his life amounted to much, I hope after reading this you know who Thomas John Grzybowski is and the type of man he was. A funeral service will not be held but a Zoom memorial will be done at some point.
Please always remember to hold those you love close and tell them every moment how much you care because life is a great mystery that is often all too short. Lastly, take to heart Tom's favorite sayings, "Work smarter, not harder" and "Your word is your bond, without this, you have nothing!"
McNeill Funeral Home, 109 Shaw Street, Martinez, Georgia 706.364.9122