ELYRIA — Her nickname was “Tam Tom,” and she was the go-to person whenever a youth at Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church needed help.
In fact, volunteer youth leader Tammy Tomasheski was so trusted that she was the only adult welcomed into a clique of teenage boys who met to talk about their problems.
“It was man talk plus Tammy — the guys in our youth group are crazy and we needed somebody to talk to and it was always Tammy,” said J.D. Myers, 17. “She was the sweetest person.”
J.D. and his parents, the Rev. J. Darrell Myers and his wife, Laura, on Monday remembered 36-year-old Tammy Tomasheski and her 11-year-old son Tom Tomasheski III, who were killed in a crash Saturday that also severely injured her husband, 38-year-old Lorain County sheriff’s Cpl. Thomas Brian Tomasheski and their 13-year-old daughter Danielle Tomasheski.
Thomas Tomasheski and the driver of the other car, Gerald Wetherbee, 35, of Oberlin, were in critical condition Monday night at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, while Danielle Tomasheski was in critical condition at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
The church community is following the progress of medical treatment for Tom and Danielle, who have multiple internal injuries, while struggling to understand what happened, Darrell Myers said.
They also are praying for Wetherbee, although J.D. said he is struggling with it because Wetherbee is suspected of drunken driving in the crash.
“He’s taken something very precious from us,” J.D. said.
Danielle is a softball player and will be an eighth-grader in the Midview Schools. Tommy, who would have been a sixth-grader at Midview East Elementary School, was athletic — just like his dad and sister — and was remembered for his laugh and shock of bushy hair. He played baseball, football and basketball.
Both adults and Danielle sustained fractured pelvises and Thomas Tomasheski sustained broken legs and a shattered ankle, Myers said.
“There was some talk early on of having a leg amputated, but they have pinned his leg back together and got a pulse back in his foot so that’s good news,” he said.
Myers said Danielle suffered a fractured vertebra and other internal injuries.
“They woke her up enough to see she had movement,” Myers said. “She’s moving the right side, but not the left — it might have something to do with swelling on her brain.”
Funeral arrangements are incomplete for the Valley City family but will be handled by Bauer Laubenthal Funeral Home, Myers said.
He said he is struggling to find the words to comfort his flock and the community mourning the loss of Tammy and Tommy Tomasheski, even though it is hard to see anything but “the darkness of this moment.”
“Scripture tells us that God can work all things for good,” Myers said.
“They weren’t just good church folks, they were fantastic community folks,” Myers said. “Tom coached softball, baseball and football, and Tammy was involved in Midview North (school activities) and Midview softball and baseball and was the treasurer of Midview Youth Football League.”
Whenever any of the youth at the church were involved in any activities, whether it be school plays or sports, Tom Tomasheski was there with his camera and would give that teen a disc full of photos.
The Myers family learned of the crash while they were at a wedding in North Carolina that the Tomasheskis had also been planning to attend.
Before Laura Myers left, she asked Tammy to ride along in their van, but Tammy stood firm.
“They absolutely adored each other and I couldn’t get her to go without him,” Laura Myers said.
The couple met while attending Midview High — Tom graduating in 1991 and Tammy in 1993 — and married in 1995.
Tammy worked at a doctor’s office in Sheffield and as an office manager for a trucking company, according to family members.
She is survived by her parents, Vicky and Richard Roche, a brother, Daniel, and a large extended family.
While the Myers family was out of town, other church members rushed to hospitals after the crash including Keystone High graduate Calab Wagner.
Wagner, 18, said the Tomasheskis helped him get his life back on track when his grades and behavior slipped and he was ineligible for football his junior year.
“Tom and Tammy were my rock,” Wagner said. “Every Friday night, Tom and I would pick a different game to go watch and I honestly don’t know where I would be without him.”
Now Wagner is going to Defiance College on a scholarship to play tight end for the football team and power forward for the basketball team.
In addition to their family and church family, members of the Sheriff’s Office family also are spending lots of time at the two hospitals doing what they can to provide solace to a grieving family.
Lt. Jack Hammond said he is very worried about his co-worker, whom he called “an emerging leader” in the Sheriff’s Office.
Cpl. Tomasheski’s father, also named Thomas Tomasheski, was a longtime sheriff’s deputy, retiring in 2001 with the rank of sergeant, and Hammond said father and son are very similar in appearance and dedication to the job.
The elder Tomasheski plans to speak publicly about what has happened in the coming days, Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh said.
The Sheriff’s Office does not know if Cpl. Tomasheski and his daughter know what happened to their loved ones, Cavanaugh said.
“The family’s going to have to find its own way to let them know,” Cavanaugh said. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”
In the meantime, Cavanaugh said the Sheriff’s Office will be there for Cpl. Tomasheski, who works as a supervisor at the Lorain County Jail.
“We hope for a speedy recovery for him and his daughter,” Cavanaugh said. “We’re one big family.”
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.