Music 09

(Jim) James Tomko

August 23, 2023


James William Tomko

With heavy hearts, we announce the peaceful passing of (Jim) James Tomko, 82, with his family at his side and his favorite music playing on August 23, 2023, at Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg.

Left to remember him are his children, Jeannie/Jeneen (Mauricio) and Ryan (Theresa); wife Phyllis of 59 years, separated; sisters, Teresa (Alain Beauregard), Judy (Brand Catton), and Beverley (Albert Self); grandchildren, Felicity (12 months) and baby Jamie (expected Feb 2024); many nieces, nephews, cousins; companion Linda; and numerous cherished friends. Everyone’s love and support was a great comfort to Jim.

He was predeceased by his father, Bill/William Tomko, whom he was immensely proud of and missed dearly; his mother, Olga Tomko (Tyshkoski), who was his sunshine; his brother, Charlie/Charles Tomko (Myrna); and his nephew, Tommy Tomko. Jim tragically lost his dad in a car accident as a young boy of 14 but was able to show great strength as he helped his mother raise his 4 younger siblings and provided a lasting positive influence in their lives.

Jim was born on August 10, 1941, and grew up in Winnipeg Beach. The family home was across from their garage and service station business and was full of love. Once he graduated high school, he moved to Winnipeg. Soon after, he fell in love with Phyllis Zelenesky and got married.

Skilled with numbers, he first worked as a bank teller but soon transitioned to being an independent insurance agent and operated the business for the next 45 years. He loved the freedom and social aspect of being an agent. Remaining strongly connected to Winnipeg Beach, he and Phyllis also owned and operated a restaurant for 15 years, called B&E Carry Outs or amongst ourselves the “Chicken Shack” (present day Saltys). Jim proudly served on Winnipeg Beach Council for 20 years, with three terms as Mayor, guiding his beloved town. He excelled at public speaking, having been a dedicated member of Toastmasters, where he once won a humourous speech contest.

Jim had a passion for music from a young age and effortlessly played accordion, piano, and guitar. Family holidays were often filled with live music. He very much enjoyed entertaining audiences and performing in bands throughout his entire life, most recently the Country Gentlemen and the Wood Knotts. In his retirement, he joined the Board of Directors at the radio station CJNU 93.7 FM and found great joy in volunteering to produce music shows and passionately planned playlists and stories for his own program as “Country Gentleman Jim Tomko” for many years.

Jim valued people and making a positive impact, and he built strong social connections with family, friends, and anyone he met. Lending a hand and encouraging others brought him happiness. He was the epitome of active living. A passionate gardener who especially loved growing beans, he served on the board of the West Kildonan Horticultural Society for several years. Golf was another activity he partook in whenever possible, and upon making a poor  shot, he would say, “It’s ok, the next one will be better,” a reflection of his positive and resilient attitude to life. Jim also had a love of curling and was an avid player who always served on the executive of the curling clubs he was involved in.  Sharing his enthusiasm for the sport, he coached the junior program at the West Kildonan Curling Club for a decade. He lived his life to the fullest, but his strongest commitment was to his family, and he provided endless guidance and support in the lives of his children.

Jim was proud of his dad’s service in WWII and was a member of the Winnipeg Beach Legion for 40 years. There will be a celebration of Jim’s life at the Legion on September 15th, 2023, at 1:00pm. Interment with his parents and brother at the Winnipeg Beach Cemetery will take place at a later date. The service can be viewed by clicking the following link

If you would like to honour Jim’s memory, please consider a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Riverview Health Centre Foundation, in lieu of flowers. He would also ask that you embrace a healthy diet and lifestyle, and keep on smiling. Jim always had a smile, wisdom, and warmth to offer, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

We love you, Dad!


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