Remembering Tom Abbiati

Photo of Tom AbbiatiEarlier this month Tom Abbiati, a dedicated Foodbank staff member passed away. For the past fifteen years he worked hard every day to ensure that all people in Vermont had access to the food they needed. His kind, thoughtful nature touched the lives of us all. He truly spent his life making the community a better place and bringing joy to the people around him. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on through the lives he changed and the hope he brought to people throughout Vermont.

The obituary below was originally published here.

Thomas Abbiati, 58, passed away August 12, 2019 with his loving family at his side.

Born on December 31, 1960 to Stuart Milne and Georgianne [Sylvester] Abbiati, Tom graduated from Montpelier High School in 1979 and Paul Smith’s College in 1981.

Tom had many interests throughout his life, but at the core of his well-lived life were his family, friends, food, and fun. No gathering at his home, be it a family holiday celebration, dinner with close friends, or a blow–out 50th birthday party, [his own and planned by him], was complete without plenty of good food and a libation or two.

A self-proclaimed foodie, Tom got his start in the hospitality and food business at sixteen years old. As the story goes, he had a job as a dishwasher that summer. One Friday evening he was pressed into service on the line when the chef failed to show up. Tom accepted the challenge, called his mother for guidance on preparing rack of lamb, and a future restaurateur was on his way.

In 1981, with his Hotel Restaurant Management degree in hand, he returned to Montpelier, Vermont, and put his talent and skills to work at several local restaurants. His short-term goal was to open his own establishment. What he didn’t know was that he, a manager at the time, would meet his future wife, a waitress, while employed at the Wayside Restaurant in Berlin, Vermont. Tom married Gloria Ennis in 1986, and in 1988 they opened Chadwick’s Restaurant on State Street in Montpelier.

While the restaurant was one brand of fun, yearly cruises to the southern Caribbean provided the couple with another source of fun, and gave Tom inspiration for new food and beverage items to offer at Chadwick’s. Each trip was an adventure for the couple complete with oft -repeated stories shared with family and friends.

Tom loved good food but recognized that easy access to such food wasn’t a reality for everyone. Consequently he partnered with local soup kitchens each holiday season, in a variety of ways, to support their efforts to reach individuals struggling with food insecurity. This was the beginning of things to come on his foodie career path.

Chadwick’s was sold in 1995 and for the next ten years, Tom worked in the wholesale food sales industry. In 2005 Tom accepted a position as the Director of Food Resources with the Vermont Foodbank. This opportunity showcased his ability and skills to procure, prepare, and source good food to those individuals in need.

Tom also loved things that moved fast like Indy Cars, stock cars, and Formula One cars. In 1994 with a group of friends and a rented van, he trekked to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the inaugural run of NASCAR’s Brickyard 400. The stories from that trip continue to reveal themselves.

Tom was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in November, 2018. This diagnosis was shattering to everyone, but Tom faced this challenge with courage and strength until his passing.

One bucket list quest of Tom’s was to attend the Formula One car race in Montreal, Canada. This adventure proved to be elusive until this year. Life was meant for good friends and great adventures and on June 9, 2019, with the blessing of his oncologist and support of his good friend Guy Badeau, Tom made the trip to Montreal to experience that race. This quote best sums up that trip “a good friend listens to your adventures. A best friend makes them with you.”

Tom leaves his devoted wife of thirty-three years, Gloria [Ennis], his loving mother, Georgianne Abbiati, his sister Mary Sklon, brother Richard [Rick] Abbiati and uncle Richard Sylvester. He was predeceased by his father, Stuart Abbiati, in 1988.

Visitation will take place on Friday, August 16, 2019 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Guare and Sons Funeral Home, School Street, Montpelier, VT. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 1 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, State Street, Montpelier, VT.

Tom’s family would like to thank his doctors, and the compassionate staff of Bayada Home Health Care for their care during these last months.

At Tom’s request, memorial contributions may be made to the Vermont Foodbank, 33 Parker Road, Barre, VT in lieu of flowers.