United States Marine Corps (Retired)
MELROSE — Thomas ‘Tom’ Zibrofski, 82, of Green Street in Melrose, passed away the morning of Saturday, January 28, 2023, at Mass General Hospital surrounded by his loving family.
Tom was born in Boston, raised in Somerville, and graduated from the Christopher Columbus High School in the North End of Boston. Tom went on to study at Brandeis University and then later graduated from Lesley University after his time in the military service.
Captain Thomas Zibrofski, United States Marine Corps (Retired), piloted a UH-34D helicopter in over 200 combat missions during the Vietnam War. It was on the day of his last combat mission on March 15, 1966, that Tom was wounded after electing to danger himself in order to save his fellow Marines who were under enemy fire. Captain Zibrofski’s courage and selflessness allowed for many of his fellow Marines to return home to their families. He was, and always will be, a central figure in their lives. The single person who they, and their families, will admire for his noble qualities, his great courage, and his personal sacrifice. Captain Zibrofski was, and always will be, a war-hero.
In years following his extraordinary career in the US Military, Tom devoted his time to work with his fellow veterans by stepping into a career at the Vet Construction Team at the Bedford VA. Tom inspired others to add new skills as they returned home from war and continued to protect and produce as civilians.
In 1962, Tom met his beautiful wife Patricia ‘Patty’ Zibrofski. Tom was the most magnificent life partner to Patty and the absolute love of her life. When Patty shared how she met Tom on a blind date, she made sure to add that their mutual friend thought “Tom wasn’t her type, but boy was he good for a laugh.” And almost fifty-eight years of marriage later, she says that they were still laughing. The life that Tom and Patty created together was admirable. Never have you seen two people that loved and cared for each other more. Tom was, and always will be, Patty’s hero. Tom and Patty lived a life of faith, led through love, and touched the lives of many with their generosity.
Tom was known as a gin and tonic enthusiast, a Mercedes aficionado, a devoted Dunkies connoisseur, and most importantly he was a fierce, fierce friend. Tom’s happiest moments were when he was surrounded by Patty and all those who he loved, related and not, in the backyard by the pool listening to Andrea Bocelli and John Mayer. Tom was not only the life of the party but left this world influencing those around him to be better, live fuller, and love harder than ever thought possible.
Tom was predeceased by his parents Edward ‘Zip’ and Gertrude Zibrofski, as well as his sisters Patricia LaFlamme and Janet Gardner. He is survived by his daughter Jill Halligan and her husband Chris Halligan, and his daughter Erin Zibrofski Bush and her partner Keith Taylor. Tom was the grandfather, ‘Papa,’ to Kelli Halligan and Chloe Halligan.
Tom’s positive view on life was contagious, his kindness was palpable, and even though he had experienced traumas that no human should ever need to endure, he never lost his appetite for life, his faith in God, or his love for his family and countless friends. His favorite saying was: “Every day is a holiday, and every meal is a banquet.” Tom, may you find peace in heaven where every day is in fact a holiday and every meal is truly a banquet. Cheers to our hero.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 4, 2023, at the Incarnation Church, 425 Upham St., Melrose. Burial with Military Honors to follow the Mass at Wyoming Cemetery, 205 Sylvan St., Melrose. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to K9s For Warriors, k9sforwarriors.org, an organization that is determined to end veteran suicide by providing highly-trained Service Dogs to Military Veterans so we can return our Warriors to a life of dignity and independence. To leave an online message of condolence please visit gatelyfh.com.