February 5, 1944 – November 18, 2021
Elk Grove, California – Tom has passed away at the age of 77 with his family and friends by his side. He was born in Cork, Ireland, to Patrick Prendergast and Mary Joyce. Tom was ordained at All Hollow Seminary and arrived in the Diocese of Sacramento in 1971, residing at St. James Parish in Davis. He served in Presentation Parish, St. Paul, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Cross in Santa Cruz, and St. Francis in Cardiff, Wales. Toms’ ministry focused primarily on social work. He received a degree in psychology and certification in clinical pastoral education from the University of San Francisco. He was Chaplin for the Sutter, Mercy and Dominican hospitals. Tom loved this ministry and had immense compassion for those who were suffering. He was a long-time member of the Irish Wheelchair Association, was instrumental in founding a home for AIDS patients in the early 1980s, and held babies for countless hours at the NICU. Tom met Maribeth Medich in 1984 and they married in 1996. Together they would travel the world and start a family. In 1999, they bought a house in Bandon, Ireland, and spent long summers there with their daughter. He had a deep connection to the struggles of his Irish ancestors and his love for his homeland has never left him. He dabbled in genealogy and was well acquainted with Irish history, politics, folklore and music. It was not uncommon for Tom to walk into a room and barge into “Into Ballybay Town” or whatever song he liked that day. Tom could easily be described as eclectic. A frugal man, he saw value in everyday items and struggled to get rid of watches, glasses, broken electronics or even his favorite living room items. His passions included flying small planes, singing Irish songs, fixing anything that was broken, playing cards with longtime friends, traveling, watching Jeopardy and completing crosswords – with pen! A very intelligent man, Tom was an avid reader, an amateur historian and a patient teacher. He helped his daughter with all the homework and supported her in all her efforts. He didn’t hesitate to say that Brie was his proudest achievement. He never took for granted how blessed he felt to have had such an amazing daughter. Tom had a special talent for making you feel like the most important person in the room. Never short of playful animal names, everyone was “Chef” or “Boss”. He made friends everywhere using his Irish charisma. He always had a joke ready and his genuine playfulness won the hearts of many. He loved four letter words as much as he loved Barry’s Tea – there would be no Earl Gray in his house! Tom had a deep faith and a long standing devotion to Jesus and it was evident in his walk. He was a man of conviction, integrity, compassion, truth and those around him could feel his joy when he spoke of God. He would humbly deny these traits, but if only to praise God for such gifts. Tom will be missed for his infectious smile, his sparkling blue eyes, his soft heart, his inappropriate sense of humor but most of all his unwavering faith. Tom is predeceased by his parents Patrick and Mary Prendergast. He is survived by his wife Maribeth, his daughter Briana (Nicholas) Russell and his granddaughter Skylar. His family in Ireland: Brother Desmond (Siobhan) niece Ciara (Brian) Falvey, nephews Shane, Patrick (Sarah), Desmond (Mary) and great nieces and nephews: Roisin, Suin, Sean, Muireann and Ted as well as many members from family and friends around the world. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made on the Irish Wheelchair Association’s webpage, ‘donate’. Funeral services will be held at Nicoletti Funeral Home on December 8, 2021 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a vigil at 6 p.m. on December 9, 2021 at 10 a.m. at St. Robert’s 2243 Irvin Way Catholic Church.
Posted by and from December 4 to 7, 2021.