William Herzkey Tombow
William Herzkey Tombow
My Family Tree, by Patrick Tombeau, PhD White Feather
White Feather

Leo Thomas Tambeau

Leo Thomas Tambeau

Male 1908 - 1973  (64 years)

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  • Name Leo Thomas Tambeau 
    Born 11 May 1908  Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 25 Jan 1973  Dearborn, MI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I00009  Tombeau Family Tree
    Last Modified 5 Aug 2008 

    Father William Tambo Tombow,   b. 12 Apr 1866, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Dec 1929, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Fitzsimmons,   b. 5 May 1876, Gilosgate Moor, Co. Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1932, Olypant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years) 
    Married 8 Jun 1899  Scranton, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F0129  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Lucille Mary Cecelia Theresa Dusseau,   b. 21 Feb 1916, Toledo, OH Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 May 2016, Westland. MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 100 years) 
    Married 6 Nov 1937  Berkley, MI, Our Lady of LaSalette Church Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Patrick LaVoy Tombeau,   b. 2 Sep 1938, Dearborn, MI Find all individuals with events at this location
    +2. Gerald ("Jerry") Harvey Tambeau
    +3. Anne Elizabeth Tambeau
    +4. Lucille Theresa Tambeau
    Family ID F0017  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Leo Thomas Tambeau
    Leo Thomas Tambeau
    Leo Thomas Tambeau and Lucille Dusseau
    Leo Thomas Tambeau and Lucille Dusseau
    Catherine Fitzsimmons, Peter Fitzsimmons, Jr., Polly Fitzsimmons, Ellen Walsh, George Brown, James Healey, Leo Tambeau, Jack Tambeau, and Mary
    Catherine Fitzsimmons, Peter Fitzsimmons, Jr., Polly Fitzsimmons, Ellen Walsh, George Brown, James Healey, Leo Tambeau, Jack Tambeau, and Mary
    Leo Thomas Tambeau, Tuck (?), George J. Roberts (?), Norman (?), James Healey Sr., and Peter Fitzsimmons, Jr., with unidentified man and child
    Leo Thomas Tambeau, Tuck (?), George J. Roberts (?), Norman (?), James Healey Sr., and Peter Fitzsimmons, Jr., with unidentified man and child
    Leo and Lucille Tambeau in the Bahamas
    Leo and Lucille Tambeau in the Bahamas
    Leo and Jack Tambeau with Thomas and James Healey
    Leo and Jack Tambeau with Thomas and James Healey
    Front and back yards of the Leo and Lucille Tambeau home
    Front and back yards of the Leo and Lucille Tambeau home
    Modern picture of Leo and Lucille Tambeau's home
    Modern picture of Leo and Lucille Tambeau's home
    Leo and Lucille Tambeau's Chevy Sedan
    Leo and Lucille Tambeau's Chevy Sedan
    Leo and Jack Tambeau
    Leo and Jack Tambeau
    Leo and Lucille Tambeau
    Leo and Lucille Tambeau
    Leo Tambeau at Ned's Auto Supply
    Leo Tambeau at Ned's Auto Supply
    Leo Tambeau in the Knights of Columbus
    Leo Tambeau in the Knights of Columbus
    Leo Tambeau with the Knights of Columbus
    Leo Tambeau with the Knights of Columbus
    Leo Tambeau on the O'Kelley Council
    Leo Tambeau on the O'Kelley Council
    Leo Tambeau in the O'Kelley Council in 1953
    Leo Tambeau in the O'Kelley Council in 1953
    Leo Tambeau as a salesman at Vix
    Leo Tambeau as a salesman at Vix
    Leo Tambeau with trophies
    Leo Tambeau with trophies
    Leo Tambeau with his son Patrick
    Leo Tambeau with his son Patrick
    Leo Tambeau in front of Marge and Charles Dusseau's home
    Leo Tambeau in front of Marge and Charles Dusseau's home
    St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
    St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
    Sanctuary of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
    Sanctuary of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
    Vix Playing Card
    Vix Playing Card
    Children of William and Elizabeth Tambo: Eddie, Peggy, Willie, Leo, Jack, and Pearl
    Children of William and Elizabeth Tambo: Eddie, Peggy, Willie, Leo, Jack, and Pearl
    William and Elizabeth Tambo with children: Peggy, Leo, Jack, and Mary
    William and Elizabeth Tambo with children: Peggy, Leo, Jack, and Mary

    Documents
    Vix Sale Newspaper Article Page 1
    Vix Sale Newspaper Article Page 1
    Vix Sale Newspaper Article Page 2
    Vix Sale Newspaper Article Page 2
    Death Certificate of Leo Thomas Tambeau
    Death Certificate of Leo Thomas Tambeau
    Obituaries for Leo Tambeau
    Obituaries for Leo Tambeau
    Marriage License for Leo Tambeau and Lucille Dusseau
    Marriage License for Leo Tambeau and Lucille Dusseau
    Census from April 1910 in Pennsylvania
    Census from April 1910 in Pennsylvania
    Census from April 15 1910 in which William Tombow his wife Elizabeth and their children Elizabeth, William and Leo appear in, as does William step son Edward Mackrell
    Award from Knights Insurance Company
    Award from Knights Insurance Company
    Leo Tambeau certificate of Baptism Page 1
    Leo Tambeau certificate of Baptism Page 1
    Leo Tambeau certificate of Baptism page 2
    Leo Tambeau certificate of Baptism page 2
    Leo Tambeau estate probate records (page 1)
    Leo Tambeau estate probate records (page 1)
    Leo Tambeau estate probate records (page 2)
    Leo Tambeau estate probate records (page 2)
    Handbell donated to St. Michaels in Leo Tambeau's name
    Handbell donated to St. Michaels in Leo Tambeau's name

    Histories
    School Records of Leo T. Tambeau
    School Records of Leo T. Tambeau
    Leo Tambeau Field Agent Award
    Leo Tambeau Field Agent Award

  • Notes 
    • Leo Thomas Tambeau, the fifth child of William Tambo, Sr., and Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, was born ll May l908 in Olyphant, PA. (His baptismal certificate, at St. Patrick's Church, Olyphant, records his birth date inaccurately as 3 May l908.) He was baptized 24 May l908. His godparents were Thomas Levuli (?) and his maternal Aunt Mary ("Polly") Fitzsimmons Dunnigan.

      He attended Lincoln School, a few blocks from ll4 School St. where he lived as a child in Olyphant. He was the only one of his brothers and sisters to finish High School. His academic record still survives for the years l923-24, l924-25, and l925-26 (sophomore through senior year of High School) in Olyphant Public School Records. A copy of his record in this writer's possession indicates final course grades running from 70 to 90% He appears to have been a "B" average student in High School. His highest grade was in junior year Physics (90%) followed by grades of 88% in Algebra, 87% in Biology. His lowest grades were in French, 70% in his junior Year, and 76% in his senior year.

      These high school French classes are no doubt the source of his inspiration to change the spelling of the family name from Tambo as he had inherited it from his father, to the French sound-alike, Tambeau.

      Father's nickname was "Shorty" among his relative, although he was by no means the shortest member of his family. His half-brother, Eddy Mackerel was probably shorter. He appears to have inherited his stature from his mother's side of the family, as his mother, aunts, and maternal grandfather were on the short side as judged from their pictures.

      My father's childhood passion was baseball, an interest he carried on in his adult years, seemingly never missing the summer time broadcasts on radio, and later on TV. In his youth he belonged to a sandlot team called the North Valley Athletic Club, the initials of which club can be spotted on a uniform he is wearing in a family picture taken when he was about l6 years old.

      During his Olyphant years he held a number of jobs, according to his close friend, Tony Criscera. Leo worked for an Atlantic-Richfield gas station as a "gas jockey" in Scranton, PA. For a time he managed a beer garden, called the Rathskeller, on Wyoming Ave. in Scranton. He also worked at the Mile's Slope Mines of the Hudson Coal Co.

      Leo appears to have come to Michigan briefly in l929-30, when he was about 2l-22 years old, to seek work, perhaps with the assistance of his half-brother, Eddy Mackerel, who had a job at the Ford Motor Company' Rouge Plant, and who had come to Michigan several years before in l920-22. But these were the lean years of the Great Depression and apparently he did not find work so he returned to Pennsylvania.

      His return trip to Michigan did not take place until about l936, probably the summer of that year, as his friend, Tony Criscera, states that Leo and his brother, Jack Tambeau, worked their way to Michigan in an old "jalopy", taking jobs along the way, including working on celery farms in New York State as pickers.

      While I was riding down Livernois, in Detroit, a number of years before he died, my father pointed out an abandoned stone gas station a few blocks south of Fenkell on the west side of Livernois. He stated that his first job in Michigan was at that gas station and noted, rather proudly that his boss, many years later, looked him up in the phone book to call him and reminisce, as he considered my father his best worker.

      Father's friend, Tony Criscera, believed he only worked there nine months before he took an "island job" at Ned's Gas Station (i.e., the gas pump. In those days, all gas stations pumped the gas for their customers and while the tank was filling, washed the car windows and checked the tires for air, and gave you the morning newspaper free.)

      Ned's was located on Michigan Avenue, on the southwest corner of Neckel, across the street from the old Dearborn (MI) City Hall.

      During the years of World War II, father, who had been too young for World War I and too old for World War II, as he always put it, worked for Fisher Body in Detroit. He was by l94l, at the time of Pearl Harbor, married three years, had two children, and was 33 years old, and so was exempt from the Draft.

      After the War father went to work for Vix Home and Auto supply, several miles down Michigan Ave in west Dearborn. He became the manager there. The site of this store is located at 2l925 Michigan Ave. and has for many years been occupied by Gniewek Trophies.

      In the Spring of l954 Father left Vix to become an insurance agent for the Knights of Columbus. He distinguished himself repeatedly, after the lean early years, by becoming the top salesman in the country for the company, selling over $l,000,000 of insurance a year, a feat unheard of before he joined the company.

      Father appeared to be a lay psychologist in this regard. He said that when he started his pitch, he would keep close eye contact with the perspective customer and run through a series of common motives for buying things, e.g, security, prestige, keeping up with the Joneses, etc. and when he would see the unconscious involuntary look in the eye of his customer that indicated interest in that motive, his talk would immediately focus on that interest.

      Much of Father's social and religious life focused around the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization. Prior to becoming an insurance agent for the Knights of Columbus, he belonged the Bishop Foley Council on Michigan Ave., a few blocks west of Greenfield, in Dearborn (MI). He became Deputy Grand Knight at this Council in l952-53, an office obtained by being elected by the membership. He was unable to obtain the coveted goal of Grand Knight, as in the following year he became an insurance agent and could not hold office. Father did rise to the honorary rank of Fourth Degree, which entitled him to wear an elaborate regalia of cape, sword, and plumed hat.

      Father's association with the Knights of Columbus uniquely fit his temperament. He was a man who loved people and large groups of people. And the love was returned. He could not go into a Council Hall without excited shouts hailing him over to someone's table. He, himself, in such situations could be heard across a room exchanging banter with one person or another. In this regard he must have been like his father who also seemed to be at home among large groups, as narrated earlier.

      But father had his gloomy side. In the summer when his business was bad or when there were economic downturns, he would turn to his family balefully and say: "You're living high off the hog now, but wait until you're living on the poor farm." Whether this saying sprung from his Olyphant days or his Irish heritage I cannot say. I did have to laugh, though, when I was doing the Census for Lackawanna County, long after Father had died, and I came across the Pittston Poor Farm which was very near Olyphant, PA, his hometown.

      Father had many turns of expression like the "poor farm", which his son, Jerry Tambeau captured and set down in memory of Father.

      Father inherited numerous superstitions from the Irish side of his family, the most clearly remembered one being the "first footing", a Celtic practice honored both by the Irish and Scottish on New Year's Day. At the stroke of midnight, as long as my brother and I lived in the home, one of us would have to go out on the porch and come back in, a duty only a dark haired male could perform each year to insure the household of good luck in the coming year. Father was very insistent about this although I never remember him explaining why we had to do this unusual ritual.

      He was good at predicting the rain. He would look into the sky and see the cumulus nimbus clouds that presaged the coming of rain and say: "The sheep are going home, so there is going to be rain tomorrow." He was right, the loose little clouds looked like the backs of sheep in a herd walking across the skies and the rain was always soon to follow..

      Father had a dish he was fond of making for himself, called "chinken-chonken", which is as close as I can approximate the sound of his concoction. He claimed that it had been passed down to him by his father and so on. However, other more distant branches of the Tombow Family have not heard of it. So it may be a tradition handed down to father's father from his Welsh step-dad, Nicolas Johns. In this conjecture there may be some truth as bread was used to "sop up" the sauce this recipe made, thus making it a modified Welsh rarebit.

      Chinken-chonken was a thin watery soup made with sharp cheddar cheese and finely minced onions brought to a simmer on the stove, filling the house with its pungent odor. My sister, Anne Tambeau Travis, has volunteered to pass this exquisite recipe down in the family.

      Father was very fond of sweets, a trait of the Tombow family I have learned about from talking to the more distant branches in E. Greenville OH where one member has admitted to stealing candies from her children's Christmas sock and Easter Basket, a trait shared by my sister Lucy and me, as well as our cousin Ruthie Smith Miekstyn, daughter of my father's sister, Pearl Tambeau.

      Father used to put white granulated sugar on his pancakes and two heaping spoons of it in his coffee in the morning, a trait I seized upon one April Fool's Day, to exchange the sugar in the bowl with salt. It was my last trick of that sort. Father, upon dumping his usual two heap- ing teaspoons into his coffee, took a swig, and immediately ran to the bathroom. While I was never punished for this act of treachery, its results were so horrific on my father that such jokes never appealed to me again.

      Father's entertainment and cultural interests included the Rafael Sabatini novels, such as Scaramouche and Captain Blood, which he must have read in his youth as he made mention of these novels to me. He could also quote, and often did, the famous line from Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner "Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink!" The Zane Grey novels on western themes were also a favorite along with the many, many western series that were found on television in the l950's. He was devoted to the Milton Berle Texaco Show and to the Ed Sullivan Show, early television's comedy and variety shows, respectively.

      He was also fond of the proverb: "I use to complain of having no shoes until I met a man without feet."

      Father met mother, Lucille Dusseau, at her cousin Ellen Diszell Healey's house in the summer of l937. Ellen's husband, Bill Healey, was a first cousin on his mother's side. The summer time whirlwind romance led to a Fall wedding on 6 November l937 in Berkley, Michigan, at Our Lady of LaSalette Church. My mother's parents were Harvey Joseph Dusseau and Gertrude LaVoy. Mother was born in her grandfather, Moses LaVoy's home on the Stateline on 2l February l9l6. As the bedrooms were in Ohio, she was born in Toledo, Ohio, rather than Erie, Michigan, where the kitchen was. Her French Canadian ancestry is traced elsewhere by the writer.

      Father and mother first lived on Ternes Ave. in east Dearborn (MI) in an lower flat with my Father's brother, Jack Tambeau, and his first wife, Florence ("Flo") Haggerty, for about a year.

      Crowded quarters led to my parents finding their own apartment in l938 at l4368 Lanson, also in Dearborn. During this time, their first child, Patrick was born. In l939, they moved to their newly built home in east Dearborn, at 646l Mead, where they lived throughout their married life, raising their four children.

      Leo Thomas Tambeau died 25 January l973 in Dearborn, Michigan, at Oakwood Hospital after several weeks in a coma. He had succumbed to a series of heart attacks and strokes that profoundly disabled him over the last two years of his life. A death that had taken and was to take so many of his brothers and sisters and first cousins, as part of their lethal inheritance from their maternal grandmother, Anna Joyce Fitzsimmons.

      Leo is buried in St. Hedwig Cemetery, Dearborn Heights, MI, six graves from his sister Elizabeth ("Pearl") Tambeau Popowski, in Section 3D. His tombstone is engraved with "Blessed are the peacemakers", for many of us saw him in that role during his life. He was 64 years old when he died.

      Leo Thomas Tambeau and Lucille Mary Cecelia Dusseau had four children: Patrick, Gerald ("Jerry"), Anne, and Lucille Tambeau.