Tom McGoldrick

Father Golf

Another of our brightest lights has gone out. Tom McGoldrick Sr., a man who we had come to believe would outlive us all, has moved on to a better place. Tom was not only a part of that “Greatest Generation” he defined it.

On D-day, as a seventeen year old sailor, he witnessed the carnage of war transporting troops and supplies to Omaha beach. While this and other aspects of the Pacific War may have steeled his nerves, they never steeled his humanity. Tom was as gentle as he was tough. Leaving the service, he left a line offering some Veteran’s benefits, because he promised his beloved Arleen, his “Sweetie Pie” he would take her to her prom. His dedication to her, and his Family was unflinching.

Tom then had a storied career, (and we’ve enjoyed all of them), with the New York Fire Department. He served the majority of that career in Ladder 123, which was then as today, one of the busiest companies in the city. Tom was revered by his fellow firefighter, admired and respected by subordinates, and superiors alike. Except for perhaps, that one chief in the Bronx, but that’s another story.

Tom had tremendous faith, while none would call him a choirboy, he did serve a deacon in his Manorville parish. Tom was honored with an audience with Pope John Paul II. To get him on the plane, I think they told him the Vatican had a golf course. Each and every round, Tom had his special place on the tenth hole where he’d stop for a short prayer and conversation with his “Sweetie Pie”.

Father Golf joined the Duffers shortly after the club started. His exploits are legendary. After slogging through an awful round, you would often hear Tom utter that familiar phrase “They hang laundry in Ireland on days like this”. Rain or shine Tom went out. Just a short month ago he was playing with a wind chill in the teens. He has had more than a dozen holes-in one. Actually a few more, but he wouldn’t count the ones from scrambles. Playing with Tom Jr. earlier this year he witnessed Junior’s first ace. I know Tom would have traded all of his, to see Junior get that one. Last year at 83, he fired an 81, probably the most iconic amateur accomplishment. He spent the last week of his simply incredible life, golfing with his Brother-in-law Jim, and Tom Jr. and by all accounts ignored Dylan Thomas, and “went gentle into the good night”. Tom’s already teeing it up on that fairway to heaven. I hope they allow smoking. He will be missed, but never forgotten!

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