Remembering Tom Delmastro

He did unto others....remembering Tom Delmastro

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
Favorite quote, Tom DelMastro

You could spot him anywhere, all put together and dressed to the nines in his hyper-accessorized and brightly-colored style. On any given day, Tom would be wearing armfuls of bracelets, a necklace, a hat heavy with pins from fairs, organizations and clubs he attended over the years, and a gray-colored “fanny pack” stuffed with collections of pens, keychains and other little trinkets.   

You could hear him coming too—fabrics swishing and pockets thumping – almost announcing his entrance before his raspy distinctive voice would say, “hello.”

His style was one of a kind and a true reflection of his inner countenance – generous and self-assured.

Tom Delmastro was born on November 12, 1950 at St. Vincent’s hospital in Philadelphia and spent his entire childhood as a ward of the state at the now closed-down institution, Pennhurst.

With no recollection of his mother, father or siblings, Tom built relationships and created fond memories with fellow residents and Pennhurst personnel who became like family to him. 

He remembered attending school at Pennhurst as a young child and filling his after-hours helping staff set up for meetings, movies and special events. In his later teenage years Tom worked as a resident worker for Pennhurst, first in the “crib ward,” then maintenance, recreation and finally in the mail room.

Tom eventually came to LifePath in 1998 and lived at the Airport Road home ever since.

Tom dedicated his life to helping others. He filled his days going from one organization to the next, volunteering and helping promote various missions for the organizations. He volunteered at Celtic Fest, Musikfest, Christkindlmarkt , Meals on Wheels, the Food Bank, LifePath (of course) and numerous other non-profits within the Lehigh Valley.

His most recent gig was as guest emcee at the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community where he led patriotic songs and announced the raffle winners of the 29 participating organizations.

In recognition of Tom’s dedication to his community and the umpteen hours spent helping philanthropic causes, Tom was honored with a House of Representatives Citation and the 2015 Northampton Area of Aging Outstanding Senior Award.

Tom was also an advocate for promoting "respect and dignified treatment" to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and gave presentations and trainings about his life at Pennhurst. These trainings led to Tom becoming a key speaker for the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, where Tom was featured in the video series, Visionary Voices Project.

Tom lived his life dedicated to the betterment of the community. He stood up for the rights of those less fortunate than him and was a personal proponent for the Golden Rule. 

Tom’s presence at LifePath and within the Lehigh Valley will be greatly missed, but the legacy of his work as a volunteer, advocate and friend live on.

written by Annette Kaiser