Passing of UA member Thomas Alberts
April 20, 2023
Thomas Ralph Alberts
It was around this time last year that Tom Alberts sat in an Organ Stop Pizza in Phoenix, Arizona and became so moved by a song that was played — a song that reminded him, we think, of someone he once loved and loved still — that tears began streaming down his cheeks. And that was perfectly fine. Because if there was one thing Tom Alberts knew in his 65 years, it was how to feel.
His feelings were always big, be they happy or mad or silly or ugly or, as they were in this moment at the Organ Stop Pizza, a whole bunch of feelings pouring out at once.
This was just before his health took another turn for the worse and there was another stay in the hospital. How could we have known he was on his ninth life, that his second chances would soon actually run out.
Thomas Ralph Alberts died on March 9, surrounded by those who loved him most: By his side were his three doting children and his two big sisters; propping the pearly gates open were his beloved parents and his little sister - whose sudden death just three months ago may very well have been what finally broke his heart for good.
Wedged between three sisters, Tommy was born into a home of laughter and love and that special sauce that comes from packing up the car and moving around the province as a family of six so many times over so few years. That full, beautiful, Alberts family love never waned. But Tom had more love in reserve.
He fell in love with Linda. Their love made Chad, Melissa, and Lana. Tom filled the house in Prince Albert with music and farts and lots of life lessons. “Name this song!” he’d say for the music. “It was the ducks!” he’d say for the farts. And those life lessons, well, some were for the moment and some, his children would later realize, were for the years to come.
Tom was the calm and Tom was the storm, and during a particularly memorable houseboating trip on Lac La Ronge, he was the calm in the storm.
He was a plumber, a pipefitter, and a pilot — the first two for his career, the last as a hobby, grinning from ear-to-ear as he zipped around in his Cessna until a doctor told him, “No more!”
He didn’t really like healthy things, except for lemons. And life threw him a lot of those.
He could find the positive in the negative, make the impossible seem possible, bring comfort to those around him who were suffering because he was in pain.
When it came to advice for his kids, it was never, “What would make you the most money?” but rather, “What makes you happy?” and “Why not try that?”
Tom was happiest yanking the fish from Tobin Lake, or sitting around the campfire with friends and family, or towing his kids behind the boat with his never-ending patience as they learned to waterski, “It’s okay, go again, just keep your skies up, stand up, stand up!” over and over again. Never weary. Never frustrated. Just happy for the time with his kids.
During his winters in Saskatoon, he kept warm by spending time with friends at the Coachman, laughing and reminiscing.
Oh, how Tom loved to just sit and be, to smile at his grandchildren, to play with them, to take them mini-golfing, to spoil them with treats.
“Here for a good time, not a long time,” he’d say.
In the end, he was here for good times and bad times, easy times and hard times. And at 65, he may not have lasted as long as some, but he was here long enough for his three kids to know every bit of him — his love, his joy, his struggles, his pain — and to love him so deeply for it all.
Tom is predeceased by his beloved parents, Ralph and Venita, his dear little sister, Elaine, and his brother-in-law, Peter. He is survived by his big sisters Karen Cherry (Mark) and Laura Walton; his brother-in-law, Blayne Gardiner; his children, Chad Alberts, Melissa Alberts, and Lana Alberts (Jesse Miller); and his grandchildren, Selaira, Viggo and Wrenley.|
A funeral mass will be held at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Parish at 538, 8th Street East in Saskatoon on Tuesday, March 14 at 11:00 a.m.
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