|Name at birth:
|Thomas Larson Bodnarczuk
|Date of birth:
|May 16, 2002
|Place of birth:
|Date of death:
|May 2, 2021
|Place of death:
|Ryssby Cemetery, Longmont, CO
|Mark Bodnarczuk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thomas was born at 10:18 am at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. His first home was on Lake Dillon in Frisco, Colorado, at 9,000-foot elevation in the high-country of Summit County. When Thomas was two-years old, we moved to a log home that we built on a 40-acre parcel of land, south of Breckenridge, at 10,300-foot elevation in Park County, Colorado. At that time, Park County only had two traffic lights, and the county was twice the size of Rhode Island. From the time he was a tiny child, Thomas had a deep and abiding love for Colorado – fresh air, clear skies, snow-capped peaks, lots of snow, deep blue mountain lakes, crystal clear streams, enormous remote wilderness areas to camp and hike in, and the laid-back, high-country feeling of the Rocky Mountains.
Thomas was baptized at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Breckenridge, Colorado on Sunday, April 27, 2003, and he made a public profession of faith on March 3, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church in Boulder, Colorado where he said the following: “I was baptized in the Episcopal Church in Breckenridge when I was 11 months old. My parents made promises for me about bringing me up in a Christian home and leading me to faith in God when I was too young to understand. Now I’m old enough to understand things about God on my own, so I told my dad and mom that I wanted to talk about my faith in front of the church. One of my favorite scriptures is John 3:16; ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ So today I say on my own, that Jesus is my savior and I want to live for him.”
Thomas was a deep feeling, empathic, and perceptive person who was attuned to his own emotions and the emotions of others. He had character, a conscience, a sense of wanting things to be fair and equitable in life, and relationships. He had a deep sense of integrity. For Thomas, “integrity” was not perfection. Rather, integrity was a commitment to course correction; to coming back to the principles, values, and inner truths that he believed in after he had said or done something that he regretted. Thomas made some wrong decisions, but over time, he would have found his way, his calling, and his destiny in life, if that life had not been taken from him so soon.
Thomas was “edgy” and stood apart from many societal expectations, exhibiting an unconventional type of wisdom that exceeded his years. He was most himself when he was alone in his room – surrounded by walls that were covered with signed posters of his favorite bands, paper tickets from concerts he had been to, and pictures of his family and friends. Thomas was also famous for his “collections” and gathering complete sets of things like comic books, Thomas the Tank Engine trains, Puffles, vinyl LP albums of his favorite bands that he played on his turntable, Lego sets, Pokémon cards, and tee shirts from his favorite bands.
Thomas had little need to judge or try to change others, rather he always tried to notice and understand them because of his deep and abiding respect for his own (and others’) personal boundaries. He sought-out kids (often younger kids) who were being ignored, treated poorly, or marginalized by the “in-crowd” and befriended them, helped them feel accepted for who they were, and often these people became some of his closest and longest lasting friendships.
For the last five years of his life, Thomas and his family attended the Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos (PCLG) where Thomas was active in the youth group and made friends with many people who loved him dearly. Thomas made three trips to Mexico with PCLG to build homes alongside families in need, with the goal of keeping families together. The PCLG high school youth group also led two “Love of God” (L.O.G) retreats annually where high school students shared about God’s love in Jesus Christ with their peers. Thomas’ Eagle Scout project involved designing and constructing a lighting system for the redwood grove on the PCLG campus, which allows the church to use this newly lighted space for evening activities and services.
Thomas had a deep thirst for knowledge, and to understand what life is about, and this led him to the YouTube videos and writings of Jordon Peterson. Thomas and his dad, Mark, already had an on-going dialogue about deep matters of psychology, faith, science, truth, and life during “boy-times,” so Thomas introduced his dad to Peterson’s work and suggested that they read him together. Thomas and his dad read and discussed Peterson’s first book, Maps of Meaning, his second book, 12 Rules for Life, and they were in the process of reading Peterson’s new book, Beyond Order when Thomas died.
Thomas was a light that burned brightly. In the 18 years that he lived; he had a powerful impact on the lives of countless people. Over his years as a scout, he did numerous community service projects. Thomas had a heart for the poor, needy, and destitute. For the last 12 years, Thomas sponsored a young Ethiopian boy named Daniel with his own money through Compassion International – a Christian non-profit organization that works to positively impact the long-term development of children living in poverty. Thomas also had a burden for, and helped support, one of the poorest, most neglected cross-sections of American society, Native Americans. Thomas loved his mother Elin, and his father, Mark, from the bottom of his heart, and they loved him more than life itself.
The complete story of Thomas’ life and death is described in Mark Bodnarczuk’s forthcoming memoir entitled, Finding New Life After the Death of My Son, available worldwide on websites like www.amazon.com.