Thomas had a fairly typical childhood in Camden, NJ, a town for which his love never waned, and for someone born to a father from Italy and a mother who might as well have been, a childhood full of family gatherings, food, arguments, and love. Beginning as a teenager and continuing throughout most of the 1960s and 1970s, Thomas was a professional jazz musician who played in various bands and with many well-known artists in venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic area. He played the upright bass and guitar and often played in bands with his beloved saxophone-playing brother and best friend, Sal. In the late-1970s, around the time of the birth of his 3rd child, Thomas decided to leave professional music behind as he found the lifestyle was not best for his growing family. Although his marriage ended in divorce soon thereafter, his children know the sacrifices he made to ensure he was as involved and as much a part of their lives as even any full-time parent could be, although only seeing them on weekends. Thomas went on to earn a Master’s degree and became a practicing psychotherapist and drug and alcohol counselor for many years, working in numerous offices in the area, and will be remembered for helping countless others both professionally and personally over the years. When he ceased working in his chosen profession, he found new purpose in the pursuit of and focus on his faith, as he was a fervent and faithful Christian, and also spent much of his later years being a very proud “Poppy” to his 4 grandchildren. In addition to the above, Thomas will be remembered as a lover of animals, having had nearly every legal pet possible at one time or another, a very dear friend to the few who were blessed to know him as such, and as someone whose favorite food was food…oh, how he loved to eat! He will also be forever remembered for his sense-of-humor and booming laugh, stubbornness, sensitivity, and deeply loving heart. Above all else though, he was a fighter throughout his life, which can best be exemplified by the last 20+ years during which he often simultaneously battled 3 different cancers, diabetes, and congestive heart failure, all the while gratefully keeping his appetite and a good quality of life until near the very end when he passed suddenly and in a moment of peace in the arms of his only daughter, unquestionably one of the great loves of his life.
Thomas was a most loving father to Dominic S. Gagliardi (Sharon), Thomas Gagliardi, Jr., and Sarah Troy (Dan); beloved grandfather to his “pride and joy” grandchildren, Meaghan Troy, Gianna, Henry & Samuel Gagliardi; dear brother to Lucien & Salvatore Gagliardi; and, as someone who truly cherished his extended family and friends.
Services will be private at the family’s request.
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