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Obituary: Thomas J. Slaiman

Fri, Jan 17th 2020 07:00 am

Loving husband, father, grandfather

Thomas James Slaiman entered peacefully into rest on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, after a brief illness. He was 69.

Born in Niagara Falls, New York, on Nov. 5th, 1950, he was the son of the late James and Mabel (née Bishara) Slaiman. Tom was a 1968 graduate of Niagara Falls High School and received his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport in 1972. He was an elementary school teacher in the Depew School District for 20 years, during which time he was twice named Educator of the Year. He was also active in the Depew Teachers Organization, serving as both DTO president and chief negotiator. Tom earned his master’s degree in school administration from Niagara University. After 20 years of teaching in Depew, he became the school principal at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School in the Cheektowaga-Sloan School District, a role he cherished for 20 years. Tom was beloved by his colleagues, teachers, students and everyone he encountered during his time as an educator. He retired in 2012 after a 40-year career.

Tom was a lifelong member of St. George Orthodox Church in Niagara Falls. He was ordained as a subdeacon in 1980 and served in this capacity ever since. He was very active in the spiritual life of the church, as well as its day-to-day operations. Tom served on the Parish Council for over 30 years, including two terms as president. At the time of his passing, Tom was the vice president and chairman of the capital projects team. His knowledge and expertise were heavily relied upon when important decisions had to be made and crucial actions had to be taken.

Tom was an active member of the Whirlpool Park Little League throughout his life. He served as its treasurer for 25 years, but his biggest joy came as a baseball coach. For 15 years, he took great pride and pleasure in teaching kids the fundamentals of the sport he loved. For Tom, it wasn’t about winning and losing, but the enjoyment that came from playing the game.

Community service was also an important part of Tom’s life. He graciously donated his time to his church and many other organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, Meals on Wheels, and various soup kitchens throughout Western New York. He lived his life according to the following principle: “It is better to give than to receive.”

A natural showman, Tom took an active role in the Western Door Playhouse during his retirement years. He served on its board of directors and performed in and directed many plays and musicals. He especially enjoyed his starring role in “An Evening With Tom Slaiman,” a self-written comedy routine based on the stories of his life.

But more than anything, Tom enjoyed spending time with his family. He is survived by his loving wife of nearly 47 years, Mary Anne (née Marasco); four loving children, Jim (Kristen) Slaiman of Grand Island, Ricco (Cassie) Slaiman of Niagara Falls, Dan (Katie) Slaiman of Grand Island and Maria (Brian) Cosen of Lake View; nine grandchildren he adored: Francesca, Kate, Tommy, Leena, Jake, Ramona, Max, Julian and T.J.; brothers, Michael (Marie) Slaiman and George (Christine) Slaiman; brother-in-law of David (Marianne) Marasco, Kathleen (Donald) Culbreth, James (Dawn) Marasco, Salvatore (Rocio) Marasco and the late Richard (Joanne) Marasco; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will begin on Friday, Jan. 17, from 2 to 8 p.m. at M.J. Colucci & Son Niagara Funeral Chapel, 2730 Military Road, Niagara Falls, with Trisagion prayers being offered at 7:30 p.m. Tom’s funeral services will be held Saturday morning with prayers beginning at 9:15 a.m. at the funeral home followed by services at 10 a.m. at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 1073 Saunders Settlement Road, Lewiston. Interment will follow in Riverdale Cemetery, Lewiston. Flowers graciously declined; memorials may be made to St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Lewiston, or St. George Orthodox Catholic, 2 Nottingham Terrace, Buffalo, NY 14216. Please visit www.mjcoluccifuneralchapel.com for online condolences.

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