Thomas Steven Koleszar
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Passed away peacefully on September 22nd at the age of 72 in San Bernardino, California after a lengthy and courageous battle with mother nature. A private service and celebration of life was held on September 26th.
Tom was born in San Bernardino, CA to Alice and Julius (Judd) Koleszar on September 18th, 1941. After graduating from San Bernardino High School in 1959, he joined the San Bernardino County Sherriff's Department as a deputy patrolman. During his nearly 19 years of service, Tom served in the patrol, homicide and narcotics divisions where he advanced to the rank of Sergeant. Some of Tom's closest friends up until his passing were the very same guys he worked the streets with during the 60's and 70's.
At a small ceremony with friends and family in Las Vegas on June 30, 1972, Tom married Margaret Evensen. In 1981, Tom and Margaret relocated to Southern Oregon with their young son Clay, in hopes of a change of pace.
Some of Tom's best years were spent in Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley. During the 80's, Tom worked at a "Mom and Pop" fishing tackle store called Smith's Tackle in Grants Pass. There he could often be found stretching fish stories and recounting the "big one that got away" with many of the local regulars. He was also an active member of the Middle Rogue Steelheaders group, helping promote the conservation and protection of cold water fisheries.
However, Tom's true love and calling was youth baseball. Whether he was coaching, mowing the grass before the game or even just grabbing lunches for the kids, Tom was rarely very far from a ball field. His greatest joys were times spent traveling around Southern Oregon with his wife, watching their son play ball at one of the youth venues.
Besides fishing and baseball, Tom also enjoyed woodworking, gardening, stamp collecting and reading old western novels. His biggest smiles towards the end of his journey were the times spent holding his baby granddaughter Bethany in his arms, as well as staring at the 100's of pictures of her adorning the walls of his room.
Tom is survived by his former wife Margaret, his three siblings Jim, Bill and Linda; his daughter Kelly, his sons Pat and Clay, and his granddaughters Bethany and Meaghan. He also leaves behind several cousins, nieces and nephews.
Published in San Bernardino Sun on Oct. 3, 2013