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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – Thomas Peter Motosko, 93, died Feb. 20, 2013, due to natural causes.

“Tom” was born to George Motosko and Barbara (Miklosko) Motosko in Youngstown on March, 8, 1919. He was one of seven siblings who was raised on Indianola Avenue in the Lansingville area of Youngstown. Lansingville was a rural edge of Youngstown in the 1930s.

Tom fondly told stories of his childhood, where he rode and slept on the back of the family cow as he took the cow to pasture. He trained the cow to stop and wait at stoplights.

Tom graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1940. As an entrepreneur, Tom operated businesses in his youth, including a pool hall and a custard stand.

He was drafted for service in the U.S. Army at the outbreak of the Second World War. He was assigned to the Headquarters Staff of the 192nd Tank Battalion and was deployed to the Philippines a month prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He fought in the Battle of Bataan. He was captured, survived the Bataan Death March, and then three and a half years as a prisoner of war and slave laborer in prison camps in the Philippines, and Hirohato, Japan.

After liberation, he returned to Youngstown and married Sophie Medvec, who died nine months later of rheumatic heart disease. Tom moved to Lima, Peru, to work in mining, but returned to Youngstown within two years due to political unrest in Peru.

He married Mary D’Amato, of Youngstown, in 1949. He briefly settled in Canfield. He returned to Lansingville, where he and his brothers constructed many homes.

Tom was introduced to sales in his youth and began a career in selling kitchen and home improvement products at five and dime stores, shopping malls, county fairs, home shows and state fairs. Over his career, Tom sold more than 30 products in over 20 states. Tom returned to most locations for 20 to 30 years.

Tom sold “Ginsu” knives at the Canfield Fair for over 50 years from a trailer that he built on a 1938 Studebaker truck frame. Tom often used the pseudo name “Timmy Massey” in his business.

Tom was known for his selfless generosity. He helped anyone in need. Tom was a natural storyteller who collected stories worth hearing. Tom loved football, big band music, dancing, especially the Polka, and gathering with family and friends.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, George, Ann, Paul, John, Mary, and Stephen; his first wife, Sophie; and his wife of 40 years, Mary.

Tom is survived by his five children of his wife, Mary and their spouses, Thomas Motosko and Jana Healy of Cambridge, Wis., Paul and Barbara Motosko of Dillon, Colo., Julie and Tony Flahive of Chino Hills, Calif., Nick and Laura Motosko of Fort Lauderdale, and Michele and Jay Merkle of Alexandria, Va.; three grandchildren, Maria Merkle, Nicholas Motosko, and Juliana Motosko; and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

“There are few people who master the small and large stages of life; people who define an era in their industry, people who build a family and a community, live a life unimagined by most, while still being the ‘guy you could talk to.’ We were blessed with knowing one of them – a man who was a war hero, friend, husband, father, mentor, and the one person that everyone knew they could rely on for hard work, anything they needed, and a good story over a cup of coffee and a piece of kolache.”

Viewing will be held Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, at the Fabrizio Funeral Home from 5 to 8 p.m. A brief viewing will be from 8:30 to 9 a.m. on Feb. 27, at the Fabrizio Funeral Home, prior to the funeral.

The funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, at Our Lady of Sorrows, formerly St. Matthias Roman Catholic Church.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust at with notification to Nicholas Motosko at or 1955 Blue Water Terrace S, Lauderdale by the Sea, FL 33062.

Guestbook Entries

“Tom and family, holding you in my heart and prayers. Your dad was an amazing man, you were blessed by his long life. Be well. Love, George McKelvey ”

 » George McKelvey  on February 24, 2013

“I had the distinct honor of getting to spend some time with the Gunfighter in the last year and a half. He was one of the most amazing individuals I have ever had the honor of knowing. I wish there were more of him in the world. The whole family is in my prayers.”

 » Corey .V on February 24, 2013

“Yes, indeed, a hero for us all. Such a wonderful man and also a great friend to my Mom and Dad for many years. What a legacy! John Oleksa II and mother Mary Oleksa”

 » John Oleksa on February 24, 2013

“"Fighter" was a wonderful person who did way more than just sell a knife you could skin the eyebrows off a New Jersey mosquito with. ”

 » Joe novicky on February 26, 2013

“My condolences to Motosko family. Your dad was a great fellow and I know how much he will be missed. Peace to you all in this time of mourning.”

 » Curtis Loesch on February 27, 2013

“My sympathies to the Motosko families. Coach was a very nice man. He took Nick and I to a sporting event when we were much younger. Never forgot his generosity and the love for his sons. God bless. ”

 » George Martin on February 27, 2013


“Tom,Paul,Nick, Julie, Michelle, Linda & Joyce Mr. Motosko was an amazing guy with incredible fortitude, character, demeaner, and strength. With his training at WWHS and WWII, he was a survivor. I've always known that Motosko was a force to be reckoned with -- but I didn't realize there were so many of you. I think Mr. Motosko was probably an excellent coach, because he obviously put together an outstanding team. He will be truly missed, and you have my deepest condolences. Carl F. Ansevin, MD ”

 » Carl F. Ansevin, MD on March 2, 2013

Last Survivor of HQ Co. 192nd Tank Battalion

“The friends and families of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization join in the mourning of the death of Mr. Motosko and we salute his service while we honor his memory. His passing marks the loss of the last survivor of Headquarters Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. God speed Mr. Motosko!”

 » Maywood Bataan Day ORganization on March 19, 2013

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