PGK Tom Slifker (November 2, 1940 – October 3, 2014)
On October 3, 2014, the Patapsco Council lost one of its longtime members as PGK Tom Slifker passed away. In recent months, Tom—in spirit—was at the forefront of a number of Council activities due to his recent ALS diagnosis. The Brother Knights of the Council participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in his honor. Additionally, the Council’s Food for the Needy program—for which Tom was a co-chair—celebrated 30 years of providing assistance to those in need.
Below is a final “gift” that Tom left for the Council: an article for our October 2014 newsletter that expressed his feelings about his 47 years as a Knight of Columbus. While Tom left us shortly after this article was published, we hope that his words will continue to inspire Brother Knights for many years to come.
Please join us in extending our prayers for the family of PGK Tom Slifker.
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
My Joy at Being a 47-Year Knight of Columbus
By PGK Tom Slifker
Brothers, I joined the Knights of Columbus in November 1967 and have enjoyed every moment of being a member of the largest men’s Catholic organization in the world. Today, I am confined to my home dealing with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). But the purpose of writing this article is to tell you the joys I’ve had for the past 47 years serving in the K of C.
I have met many friends who have the same spiritual belief as me. I have worked with brother knights on all kinds of projects. I was elected to just about every office in the Knights. I served on every Surge for Service directorship. I have served the poor. I have prayed with Brothers in serving our God. I have socially enjoyed Brother Knights, their families, and friends at our social functions.
Volunteering to work with other Brother Knights is the real joy of the K of C. My favorite project was to serve the poor. For 30 years, Patapsco ran a Food for the Needy program, which started out serving the poor at Christmas and evolved to serving them all year long. For 30 years, we conducted a men’s weekend retreat where we would take time out of our lives and reflect on God’s will for us.
I enjoyed working on spiritual projects. At meeting nights, I was the rosary leader for 22 years. On Monday nights for 19 years, we conducted a Marian Prayer Group. Each of us is required to receive the degrees of the K of C. I served on the 1st and 2nd degree teams with speaking parts for 26 years. This was a very rewarding experience for me.
I also worked on fundraising events. Our committee ran bus trips for 20 years. This not only was fun, but we travelled around the country and also made money for the Council treasury.
There are many other projects I worked on, but the point I am trying to make to newer members is to volunteer your time and talent on a project that interests you. Offer your service to the Grand Knight. This is the joy of the K of C. I have always had the philosophy that, if a project stops becoming fun and becomes work, it is time to move on to something else. The projects I worked on were always fun and rewarding to me.
The hardest thing I have to deal with having ALS is that I had to give up all my K of C activities and can no longer get to meetings. I want you to know that I truly appreciate all who took the ice bucket challenge and donated money to fight this disease in my name.