On Friday, April 13, 2018, the world lost one of a kind. Thomas Robert Malatek, 67,
of Ely, died peacefully at the Ed and Joan Hemphill Hospice Unit, UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital, Cedar Rapids, after a hard battle with multiple myeloma. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Celebration Farm-Double Round Barn, located at 4696 Robin Woods Lane NE, Iowa City, Iowa 52240. Celebration of Life services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 19, at Celebration Farm with Pastor Brian Middleswarth officiating. Burial will be at Oakland Cemetery in Solon, with full military rites conducted by Solon American Legion, Stinocher Post No. 460. A Celebration of Life gathering will be from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. following the committal at The Avacentre at Brosh Chapel in Solon. Brosh Chapel and The Avacentre in Solon is caring for Tom and his family.
Tom was born Jan. 10, 1951, at St. Luke's Hospital, Cedar Rapids, to Robert and Marian (Sirowy) Malatek. He graduated from Prairie High School in 1969. Tom lived his entire life in Ely, aside from two years he spent primarily in Okinawa, Japan, courtesy of the U.S. Army. Sgt. Malatek was honorably discharged May 25, 1977. Tom served as a member of the Color Guard, Solon American Legion, Stinocher Post No. 460, for almost 40 years until his death. Tom was proud of this service, especially for the opportunity to honor those who had passed and their families.
Tom worked as a firefighter for the city of Cedar Rapids from 1978 to 2007. He loved his work and found it hard to retire after heart surgery, but he made many long-lasting friendships. Tom served as a volunteer firefighter for the Ely Fire Department from 1973 until his death, where he was for over 27 years, the assistant fire chief. In particular, he enjoyed helping to organize and cook at the annual EFD July Fourth breakfast. Tom was the firefighter you wanted backing you up and always learned from, good or bad.
Tom loved spring and fall on the farm. For many years, he helped Bill and Bea Leidich and the past 22 years Serbousek Farms and others who needed an extra hand. He enjoyed the serenity of being in the tractor for hours on end, alone with his thoughts and music.
Tom lived life to its fullest. In his younger years, "Thumper" raced anything on wheels, particularly stock cars on dirt at Hawkeye Downs, Tipton and other local tracks. Fishing was his passion, although there was not a safe place for coyote, deer or turtle, either. Any free time from April to October, Tom could be found at Lake of the Ozarks.
Initially, Tom, Gene O., brother Pat, Paulie and Frank spent many memorable times at Captain's Fancy. In more recent years, Bass Point became the summer destination spot. Tom and Pat felt very lucky to share a cabin with Randy, Kelly and Al. Great neighbors at Bass Point have made for great times, and Tom truly loved it there. It will not be the same without him.
Tom married Patricia "Pat" (Smith-Graham) on May 30, 1998, and acquired stepdaughter Theresa; son-in-law, Matt Mineart; and stepson, Marc. Eventually, Tom also received two of life's greatest gifts, granddaughters Megan and Alex. Tom loved them dearly.
Tom is survived by his family, wife, Pat; stepdaughter, Theresa (Matt) Mineart; granddaughters, Megan and Alex; his sisters, Lois (Lloyd) Cooling, Sheryl (Allen) Tjelmeland and Sue (Jess) Schulte; his brother, Pat Malatek; and his uncle, Bob (Marlene) Sirowy. Also surviving are mother-in-law, Dorothy Smith; and sister-in-law, Louise Fisher. Treasured nieces and nephews include Kevin Cooling, Jackie (Mark) Brown, Kim Cooling, Lon (Ann) Tjelmeland, Lynette (Matt) Sedrel, Stephanie Mehman, Sara (Jim) Richardson, Sherry (Steve) Lukes, Shelly Schulte, Stacy Kahler, Jessica "Punks" (Dan) Carter, Brad (Kayla) Malatek and Heather (John) Schiltz. Additionally, 23 great-nieces and nephews, especially Jade and Gaby Carter; three great-great-nephews; many cousins; and fur buddy, Copper.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents; sister-in-law, Gloria Malatek; niece, Sue Cooling; stepson, Marc; father-in-law, Omar Smith; brother-in-law, Larry Fisher; nephew, Mike Fisher; sidekicks, Tom Ceynar and Paul Slezak; fur buddy, Shuster; and other fur buddies, friends and relatives waiting to show him the best fishing and hunting spots in Heaven.
Tom left us way too soon. We will miss his smile and orneriness but we know we will be with him again. Hold him close, God; he is yours now.
Memorials may be directed to the family.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.broshchapel.com.