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On Monday August 16, Tommy Z wrapped up a wonderful life. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving wife and family. They will continue to honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest. Tommy picked a fight with cancer, or maybe it was the other way around. In any case, he didn’t necessarily lose the fight, but decided enough was enough and moved on.
Tom isn’t much for pomp and circumstance, so don’t expect a big church funeral. Plans are in the works for a celebration of his life which was wonderful, full of joy and well lived. If you want to honor Tommy in a more personal way, have a little fun today. And every day. Because as Tommy says, “you just never know.”
Tommy is loved so deeply. His wife Nancy is the Ying to his Yang and has been since they first set eyes on each other at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama more than a half century ago. His two sons Adam and Aaron respect, love and adore their dad. They have made him so very, very proud in their professional and personal lives. Their spouses Kari and Shaun have loving relationships with TZ and are vital parts of the family he cherishes. The grandkids. How Tommy loves his grandkids Tate, Charlie and Lilly; and how they love their Grampy. Grampy loves to tease, hang out and spoil them like only a grandpa can. Grampy has a swear word jar and contributes generously, especially if the kids are saving for something special.
Tommy cleverly found a way to combine his love for golf, socializing and deal making into an incredibly successful career. He started with Allstate Insurance and moved on to Sentry Insurance where he honed the sales and underwriting skills that were critical to his future endeavors. While at Sentry, he worked closely with John Noel and later helped Noel launch a travel insurance company in Stevens Point. The company called Travel Guard would eventually become the world’s leading provider of travel insurance and assistance. In 2006, the company was acquired by AIG but kept the Travel Guard name. Tom was instrumental in recruiting and building the industry’s biggest and best sales force and a legendary underwriting team that established many of the industry’s best practices. Tom is a noted travel insurance expert and speaker and one of the founding board members of the United States Travel Insurance Association. (UStiA). At one point he had one of the longest titles in America (maybe) – AIG Travel Guard Executive Vice President, Sales, Underwriting & Marketing, United States.
But Tom didn’t care much for titles; he cared about people and relationships. He was gregarious, upbeat and knew the names of the Kwik Trip clerk’s kids. He worked hard and played hard with his colleagues. He had his tennis buddies, golf buddies, and lots of buddies who just liked hanging out with him. He and Nancy have a close group of friends in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and now new friends they’ve made in their adopted home of Sun City West, Arizona. Tom loved to wager on almost any sporting event and treasured his Las Vegas trips with family or friends. He loved his Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers. Enuf said. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Tom was thrilled to see his beloved Bucks win a 2nd World Championship this summer.
Tom was preceded in death by his sisters Lorraine and Nancy, his father Anton and his mom Anna. Tom is survived by anyone who was fortunate enough to cross his path. If you are one of these lucky ones, remember a moment you shared with Tommy Z and enjoy the wistful smile it puts on your face.
In lieu of flowers, Tom’s family requests a donation to the charity of your choice.