Sunday, February 27, 2011

In honor of Thomas P. Rowland

I was greeted by the most beautiful face at church today only to realize something was terribly wrong.  Stephanie's eyes welled up with tears and i knew instantly, and then the words came out of her mouth, " He passed away'.  I dropped my box that i was carrying and instantly went to hug her, hoping it would make her feel better but what she did was make me feel better when she whispered in my ear, "It's okay".  Then i looked to her left and there stood her stoic father with tears in his eyes.  Oh, my goodness, i know what it is like to lose a child but not one that i've had with me for 35 years.  My heart is breaking for them but what a testimony this family is.  To me, this family showed that they are not mad that 'God took' their brother, their son by being at church today and they will be celebrating his life this Friday.  I did not know Tommy personally but our girls prayed every night for over year for God to heal his body from leukemia.  We would praise God when we would get good news and then we would pray harder when bad news loomed again.  Today, we had to share the news that yet another dear person we have been praying for has gone to be with Jesus.  That makes two in one week.  One of Jeff's co-workers too left us on Monday leaving two girls behind and the older one taking on the role as the parent because the father is also deceased.  And your heart breaks even more when your own child asks. "Does God really hear our prayers?  Because if He did, then why are so many people dying"? 
Hug your loved ones a little tighter.  Time is too precious.
Please pray for this family but especially for Tommy's wife and their sweet little baby who is only two years old.  May God give him the wisdom in his young little life to always remember what an amazing Daddy he had.  Also, please lift up Janie's girls, who are only 21 and 16...they too are missing their Mamma.
Love to you all!
And yes, i am, i am bawling......

Thomas Paul Rowland (1975-2011) (Printed as written, by Thomas P. Rowland) Thomas Paul Rowland, 35, beloved husband, father, son and brother, passed peacefully from this life into the arms of his Heavenly Father on February 23, 2011. Surrounded by his loving family, Tom's 15-month courageous battle with leukemia ended. Tom was born December 21, 1975, in Tacoma, WA, to Thomas William and Geneva Rowland. He graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory High School and then Washington State University, where he was honored to serve as President of Sigma Nu Fraternity. Tom earned his law degree, with honors, from Gonzaga University, where he also served as an Associate Editor of the Gonzaga Law Review. Following graduation, Tom practiced law with Eisenhower & Carlson, PLLC of Tacoma. Unable to ignore the call to public service, however, he was honored to have the opportunity to serve as a Staff Attorney with the Washington State Office of Insurance Commissioner, where he was employed until his death. By most standards, Tom's life was unremarkable. That all changed when he met the love of his life, Karen. It was love at first sight and they shared nearly a decade of wonderful memories. More than anything, Tom and Karen enjoyed celebrating their wedding anniversary each July 4th in Scottsdale, Arizona. But in the final years of his life, what Tom enjoyed most was spending time with the other love of his lifeNhis two-year-old son, Jack. Although cancer took Tom's life at far too young an age, he feels so grateful for the brief time he did have Karen and Jack on this earth and eagerly awaits the day when his family will be reunited with the Lord in the Kingdom of Heaven. True to his strong, quiet nature, Tom preferred to keep his battle with cancer a private one. However, it should be known that he exemplified courage, dignity, and hope throughout his battle and reminded his family daily of the preciousness of life. Tom was a fighter and wants his dear son to know that no obstacle, even cancer, can take away one's heart, mind, faith, and hope. The Rowland Family would like to thank Tom's primary oncologist, Dr. Thomas Baker as well as his transplant teams at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and UW Medical Center. A heartfelt thank you is also extended to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner for their undying support; generous donations of leave time, and genuine professionalism and friendship in a time of need. Lastly, the countless number of family, friends, and individuals who provided meals, cards, blankets, financial assistance, and other means of support during his battle with leukemia will forever be remembered. These overwhelming and selfless acts of love demonstrate the true meaning of "People for others." Surviving Tom is his loving and dedicated wife, Karen, their son, Jack Thomas, and his three stepchildren Caleb Bartro, Joseph Sewall, and Julia Sewall. His loss is also profoundly felt by his parents, Tom and Geneva Rowland of Fircrest, WA, and his two sisters, Stephanie Nolan (David) of University Place, and Paige Puryear (Jessie) of Port Orchard. Affectionately known as "Uncle Tommy," Tom leaves behind an admiring nephew and three adoring nieces. A celebration of Tom's life will be held on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. at University Place Presbyterian Church, 8101 27th Street W., University Pl., WA 98466, reception to follow. A private interment will be held at New Tacoma Cemetery. Tom dearly loved and supported Bellarmine Preparatory School and it was his earnest desire that his young son, Jack, someday follow his academic footsteps. Remembrances in Tom's name may be made to the Jack Rowland Scholarship Trust at any Key Bank location.

1 comment:

  1. While I didnt know Tom (just knew of him), my heart has always ached for this family. I, too, found myself bawling upon reading your blog until my vision was blurred with streams of tears. I cant imagine what the family is feeling but I hurt for them all the same. Thank you for sharing, SuLee.