By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
Ed Tymko always had a hug, a hearty handshake, a happy outlook that had a way of spilling over onto others who happened to be in his company.
Any, or better yet all of these, make up my lasting image of this faith-filled man who died Wednesday, April 5, aged 83.
Every Sunday morning when he arrived at his parish church, St. Kevin, Mr. Tymkow would make a point of walking across the foyer to shake the hands of early arrivals like Tommy Roberto, Pat Villella, Ron Anderson and John Ingrao, without fail. You see, hospitality was one of his duties at 8:30 Mass and for Mr. Tymkow, it was akin to a sacred trust.
Then he would welcome others as they arrived: good, firm handshakes and “Good morning!” greetings for the men, hugs and the occasional peck on the cheek for the ladies. Few parishioners could pass by his post near the entrance to the sanctuary without some form of acknowledgement.
Participation in parish life wasn’t optional, it was mandatory for Mr. Tymkow, that’s my opinion based on years of observation. And it wasn’t just faith and spirituality that mattered but social and recreation participation too. Mr. Tymkow was a member of the bereavement committee, which means he was a parish representative at funeral wakes, he was an altar server at Mass, he was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, just three examples. But he also enjoyed once-weekly progressive euchre card parties, helped set up the parish hall for special events and went with wife Mary and parishioner friends to coffee klatches or breakfast get-togethers after Mass.
I can’t say whether Mr. Tymkow was God-fearing, but more important he was a God-loving man with deep-seated belief and values. When his illness became known just a few months ago Mr. Tymkow did not shrink away from attending church and Mass, but kept up participation and involvement as long as he was able. He won respect and admiration of many for remaining upbeat and positive through his ordeal and never uttering a word of complaint in the presence of others. Never. That takes courage, but it also reflects this gentle man’s abiding trust and faith in the Lord. Mr. Tymkow was blessed with copious amounts of both.
Even if you didn’t know Ed Tymkow through church contact, chances are he visited your home at one time or another, probably more. He delivered flowers from Welland Flower Shop, his work for 39 years. Just another way Mr. Tymkow brought a smile to so many of the faces he encountered.
Edward John Tymkow is at the J. J. Patterson & Sons Funeral Residence 19 Young Street, Welland where visitation will be held Sunday, April 9, 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. Vigil prayers will be in the funeral home Sunday at 3:45 p.m. and funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Parish Community of St Kevin, Monday, April 10 at 10 a.m.
For the death notice, please visit arbormemorial.ca/en/jjpatterson
(Lasting Image appears as an occasional feature on the blog.)