Obituary of Thomas W. Charla
Thomas William Charla, 60, of Glastonbury Connecticut, loving husband of 30 years of Oksana (Okie) Charla, and beloved father of Katherine and Michael, peacefully went to be with our Lord on Thursday, September 7, 2023 after a courageous battle against lung cancer. Diagnosed just before Covid 19 shut down the world, Tom often joked, “What great timing…at least I am not the only one stuck at home.” That was Tom, always finding the silver lining in things and ready to make the most of even the worst.
Thomas was born on November 28, 1962. He was the 4th and youngest child of Rita and Joseph Charla Jr. of Larchmont, New York. He attended Iona Grammar School, Stepinac High School and then went on to graduate from Belmont Abbey College. Tom’s faith was strong and it helped him find peace even in the most difficult last days, which he was able to spend at home with family surrounding him.
Tom’s early career was in advertising in NYC. It was there that he met his wife Oksana (Okie, as he called her). They met on her first day of work at Geer DuBois Advertising agency where Tom worked as a Senior Media Planner, and they immediately had a ‘special’ connection—one of the heart. Neither had any idea that that one little spark would lead to over three decades of togetherness and then be cut so short. They had so much more they wanted to accomplish, so many plans for the future, and so many old friends that they wanted to reconnect with now that their kids were older and time was theirs to enjoy more freely.
Life was not always easy, but Tom and Okie had each other. They were blessed with two wonderful, kind, and caring children, now young adults. Tom was a great Dad and had a gift for expressing kindness and for making everything special. He was a natural father, able to fearlessly give his daughter her first bath when Mom was too afraid she’d break; able to gleefully sing and make up little ditties as he changed diapers; and man enough to share his faith and love of God with his kids. He happily chaperoned week-long St. Dunstan’s mission trips, sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag, eating Uncrustables, and working side-by-side with the kids, teaching by example—love of neighbor, compassion, and life skills. Tom loved his family, always happily cheering them on. He was–and always will be–the wind beneath their wings.
Tom held many interesting jobs in advertising and marketing over the years. Aside from several NYC ad agencies he worked for early on, he worked for Con Edison, Wiley Publishing, Unimin Corporation in New Canaan and then in 2003 he landed at MassMutual where he remained until just recently when his cancer, surgeries/treatments landed him on Short Term Disability. He always planned to go back. Heck, in his final days, he was still churning out new ideas and wanted to update his giant white board for the team. He loved his company, job, boss and many colleagues.
Tom was predeceased by his parents, Rita and Joseph Charla Jr.. He is survived by his wife Oksana Charla, children Katherine of Hartford and Michael of Boston, his siblings Patricia Charla Vail and her husband Philip of Southbury, sister Kathleen Charla of Mammaroneck and her daughters Meghan and Kate Sundberg, brother Joseph Charla and wife Mary Jo of Larchmont, their sons Nick, Luke, and Will, Mother-in-law Juliana Powch and Sister-in-law Irene Powch and son Micah. He also leaves behind his beloved dog Sammi who knew just how to get “Daddy” to do whatever she wanted.
The family will receive friends at Mulryan Funeral Home, 725 Hebron Avenue in Glastonbury on Friday, September 15, 2023 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 11:00 AM at Saint Dunstan Parish, 1345 Manchester Road, Glastonbury. For online condolences, please visit www.mulryanfh.com.