Thomas (Tommy) R. Kortman
Tommy entered this world October 15, 1967, on his parents’ first wedding anniversary. He gained the wings he had earned on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 with his loving sister, Heather Kortman-Seip, and the love of his life, Kristina Gasiewski, by his side. Tommy was all about cars. Racing was his life – lived at a quarter mile – either straight forward for a quarter mile or a half mile around a dirt track. Tommy and his father, “Pops”, along with the whole family, started the ADNYP Racing Team #44. Each person on the team had a specific job to do – Pops at the helm as Head Builder & Mechanic and Tommy as co-builder/mechanic and more importantly (and most exciting for him) driver. Mom and sis, then later niece and nephews, as avid cheerleaders, fans and moral support. It was a true family affair. They could all be found at East Windsor Speedway every Friday night, running the yellow, that became red, #44 ADNYP car. This is where he began to pass on his love of cars and racing to his niece and nephews and countless fans. He could tell you the make, model and year of a car from a mile away, by the shape of the grill, or the lines of the hood or trunk.
When he was younger, he spent many years as an Alter Boy at St. Peter’s R. C. Church in Riverside, NJ, and became an Eagle Scout. A 1986 graduate of Holy Cross High School, he played football and was on the Swim and Diving Team at Riverdel. He went on to attend Drexel University and work at Jack’s Auto Parts, Riverside. He then worked his way up to Assistant Parts Manager at McKeon Ford, before landing a job as an apprentice drafting engineer at Enser Corp. in Cinnaminson. The last, almost 20 years, was spent as a Financial Investigator for Dunbar Armored, which was bought by the Brink’s Company in 2018.
Tommy suffered with the Eagles and the Steelers on their losses and rejoiced with them on their wins, while loudly coaching them from his chair. He could also be heard cheering, or cursing, at his favorite Flyers and Phillies games. Tommy was an active member and leader in many of the area model car clubs. He was a precise builder of model cars himself, having to make them as realistic as he could from piecing together parts from several different kits. He wasn’t much of a cook, unless you loved hotdogs, pork roll or eggs, but he loved his mother’s cole slaw and Kristy’s chicken stroganoff.
To many, the sight of this big man could be intimidating, but he was more about hugs and having sleepovers for his niece and nephews – “helping” them build school projects. Not many knew this, but he would braid his niece, Kaytee’s hair and then let her braid his or let her paint him up with makeup and hair bows to keep her entertained and happy. Of course all this primping led to some lovely tea parties.
In 1987, he met a petite and pretty girl, Kristina Gasiewski, through a mutual friend, and they dated off and on through 1988. She fell HARD for the confident “bad boy”, but their life paths took them down separate roads. They reconnected in March of 2017 and rekindled their love. He had become much more mellow and those bear-like arms were her “safe place” where she finally felt at home and complete. He said that just the sound of her voice could make him relax and when they were together, you could see and feel the love they had for each other.
Tommy is survived by his sister – Heather Kortman-Seip, his niece – Kaitlin (Gary) Seip, his nephews – Joe (Alix) Seip and Shane Locke, his great nephew Drew Seip, His fiancee – Kristina Gasiewski and his best friend, his sweet pitbull – Blackie, along with several amazing friends, Cousins, Aunts and Uncles. He was preceded in death by both of his parents – Thomas C. and Eileen Kortman and his wife of 25 years – Tamara (Tammy) Warner Kortman.
Please join us for a celebration of his 53 years of life with his loved ones on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 from 6-8 pm at Sweeney Funeral Home on Bridgeboro Street, Riverside, NJ. A brief service will be held at 8 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum where Tommy volunteered for many years, his home away from home. (simeonemuseum.org)