Thomas L. Brophy, Jr. 78 of Hamilton Twp., NJ and a long time Princetonian, passed away on Sunday, May 10th, 2020. Tom is survived by his wife, Jerilyn, and his three loving children and their spouses, Kathleen Brophy & Maria Melchionda of Millis, MA; Thomas L Brophy III and Donna Brophy of Lawrence Twp, NJ; and Kelly Brophy of Lawrence, Twp. NJ; His loving sister Barbara Brophy Lemoine and Richard Lemoine of Coral Gables, Fl; his two step children and their spouses, Christine and Mark Zelenak of Pennington, NJ, and Kenneth and Jena Munday of Vilonia, Ark; his brother-in-law, Don and Jo Moranz of Miami, FL; and his sister- in-law Kathleen and Bob Phillips of Tucson, AZ. Tom was a proud Pop-Pop and is survived by his 14 adoring grandchildren.
If you were to ask those that knew him best what it meant to be a loyal friend, Broph’s name would most certainly be a part of that definition. He loved his family and he loved his friends, and it was pretty simple for him; you were either in or you were out.
Broph was born on August 1, 1941. He attended Saint Paul’s Elementary School. He graduated from Princeton High School in 1959 and then attended Niagara University, where he studied business and ping pong, a game he played well into his 70’s. He graduated from Niagara University in 1963. He then moved back to Princeton to raise his family and continue the family legacy, a Princeton landmark since 1896, Brophy’s Shoes of Palmer Square. Within the shoe business, Tom was known for his saddle shoe and for his creation of The Brophy Golf Shoe. If you were wearing a pair of Brophy’s Fine Footwear, people would often remark, “they are the best shoes and last forever.”
He was an avid writer and wrote articles for the Princeton Packet, Town Topics and was also published in the Wall Street Journal. After closing Brophy’s Shoes, he began working for the State of New Jersey in the unemployment division. Broph was the man that everyone wanted to see, as he got things done because he cared about people. Tom continued to speak and give lectures to folks struggling with unemployment, and published his book, Little Victories with the help of his friend, Glen Paul.
Broph loved his Mets, his Giants and his golf. He was a long time member of Springdale Golf Club in Princeton, NJ. His favorite foursome, Bryce, Alvin, and Rodriguez were always together and it would never be hard to find them on any given Sunday between April-November. Tom was also a member of the Hamilton YMCA ping pong club and an avid player. Tom loved the ocean and loved the Jersey shore and he instilled that love in his children. He was sometimes referred to as “Ocean Man” by his kids and wife.
Tom and his wife, Jerilyn, loved spending time in the Villages, Fl and were able to enjoy many vacations there together. Two traditions that Tom is best known for within his family are his Christmas letter, and his Christmas morning breakfast. For the past 15 years, he would send a letter to his wife, children, grandchildren, their spouses and his sister, telling them how much he loved them and how important they were in his life. Christmas morning, he and Jeri would open up their home to enjoy the company of family, friends, and homemade omelets.
Tom was predeceased by his parents Gertrude and Thomas L. Brophy of Princeton, NJ. They raised him to be kind, hard-working and a true family man.
The Brophy family would like to thank the staff at St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing and Vitas Healthcare Hospice for their care and compassion.
A celebration of life for family and friends will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider writing a note/letter to a family member and let them know what they mean to you.
If you would like to leave a memory please go to this link: legecy.com/obituaries
A donation can also be made in Tom’s name to: The Lewy Body Dementia Association www.lbda.org.
Cerebral Palsy Program at CHOP’s (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) www.chop.edu/pages/why-choose-chops-cerebral-palsy-program