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Born: Aug 10, 1941

Date of Passing: Aug 23, 2023

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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 Febuary 2024); many nieces, nephews, cousins; companion Linda; and numerous cherished friends. Everyone's love and support were 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 Salty's). 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 15, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. Interment with his parents and brother at the Winnipeg Beach Cemetery will take place at a later date.

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!

Gilbart Funeral Home in care of arrangements

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 09, 2023

Condolences & Memories (9 entries)

  • Deepest condolences on your loss. Ron & Carol Schmidt Winnipeg Beach - Posted by: Ron Schmidt (Friend ) on: Sep 13, 2023

  • Saddened to hear of Jim’s passing away, wishing you all as much peace and comfort as possible. Warmest condolences. Ron and Arlene - Posted by: Ron Rogoski (Cousin ) on: Sep 12, 2023

  • Jimmy was the mayor of Winnipeg Beach when I worked there as a conservation officer in 1981 to 1985. The Winnipeg Beach park was an extremely busy and very popular spot for summer fun and beach activities. Due to the very large number of beach goers on weekends, it was difficult for beach patrol to keep a proper watch of the children. Sadly there was always a search for people in the water. Mayor Tomko was quite concerned of that as he wanted to make the beach much safer. He was very instrumental by proposing a plan resulting in the construction of playground equipment to keep the young children away from waterfront. It was the first of of co-operation and working together that was very well received by all. His easy approach, his understanding, and his care was a true benefit for the community. Rest in peace Jim, My condolences to you family. - Posted by: Jack Kowalchuk (friend) on: Sep 11, 2023

  • RIP Jim. now you get to soar with the angels, a great friend, mentor, and business partner. Gentleman Jim says it all. - Posted by: Vic Mann (Friend and Business Partner) on: Sep 11, 2023

  • A fond farewell to Jim Tomko who epitomized Toastmaster excellence! James Tomko was the District Governor of District 64 Toastmasters, Manitoba and NW Ontario in 1974/1975.As such he was the leader, motivator, and executive officer to approximately 50 clubs located in Manitoba and Northwest Ontario. I vividly remember the excellent quality of leadership he presented as a quiet, kindly, nurturing role model. An epitome of a servant leader. Farewell Jim, It was a privilege to have known you and enjoyed and learned from your positive example. Jack Gillespie. Toastmasters International President, 1991/1992. - Posted by: Jack Gillespie (fellow Toastmaster) on: Sep 10, 2023

  • Mr. Tomko was a good neighbor and will be greatly missed. He was always there to give great advise whether it was for gardening, how to get rid of dandelions, how to become more healthier or to tell you about his radio station. He had a welcoming smile and a gently wave to say Hello as you drove down the Bay. Rest easy now Mr Tomko, play your music, enjoy a game of curling or backgammon with my dad. - Posted by: Mel (neighbor) on: Sep 09, 2023

  • The stories and jokes from Jim, were the best. He was a very friendly face at the many club meetings that I attended. Condolences to the family - Posted by: Schipper (Garden Member ) on: Sep 09, 2023

  • Jim was a stellar guy in all respects. I enjoyed his company, his sense of humour, his knowledge of curling and his great out look on life. I, as well as many others will miss Jim at the curling club and the executive meetings. Jim was a great volunteer and gave it his all when it came to ensuring the club ran well. Rest in peace Jim, you gave it your best !! - Posted by: Bob Crawley (Acquaintance) on: Sep 09, 2023

  • R.I.P. James. You will be greatly missed as well as your music. You will have Heaven dancing their feet off! Katie (Transcona - Posted by: Kathrine Keselowsky (Faithful listener of CJNU) on: Sep 09, 2023

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