Thomas G. Oelkers
- Fire Department City of New York
- New York
- Age: 46
- Year of Death: 2021
Thomas G. Oelkers was born August 28, 1974, to Thomas M. and Catherine Oelkers. Tom was the oldest of his siblings, Nancy, Allison, and Michael. Tom attended St. Stanislaus Kostka School for his elementary education, where he was an altar server, a Boy Scout, and loved playing baseball. Tom went on to attend Archbishop Molloy High School.
After graduating Archbishop Molloy in 1992, Tom attended St. John’s University. Tom was a member of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity and held positions on their chapter executive board as KOE and pledge master. It was at St. John’s University that Tom met the love of his life, Erika Ryan. They were engaged in 1998 and married on October 8, 2000.
After graduating from St. John’s University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, Tom became a member of the New York City Police Department. Tom started his career in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, but spent the majority of his career in Midtown North Precinct. Tom responded to the 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts and spent several weeks on the pile before joining the New York City Fire Department in October 2001.
Initially assigned to Ladder 152 in Queens, Tom transferred to Engine 92-Ladder 44 in the South Bronx, where he spent his career. At the firehouse, Tom was the resident chef; his pulled pork and Thai chili shrimp recipes were a firehouse favorite. Tom also ran German Night and the Annual Dinner Dance for the firehouse. Tom enjoyed playing on the firehouse softball team and was an offensive lineman on the FDNY Bravest football team. He played on the team when they won the championship.
Tom loved the NY Yankees and the NY Giants and enjoyed going to games. Tom loved to cook at home, go to concerts, ride bikes, and take vacations with his family.
While Tom loved the FDNY, his pride and joy are his three daughters, Camryn, Juliet, and Scarlett. He loved getting them on and off the bus for school, going on their field trips, and attending career day at school. Tom would spend his weekends on the soccer field and going on bike rides with the girls. He enjoyed taking them to the beach and pool during the summer.
Tom was passionate in his fundraising for RSRT (Rett Syndrome Research Trust), a rare disease that affects his oldest daughter Camryn. He was one of the first families to host their annual NYC Gala, which has raised millions of dollars for research over the past decade.
Tom was diagnosed with 9/11 related cancer in August 2020. He passed away nine months later at the age of 46.