Life story: Father worked hard for his family

MARYSVILLE — Jack Tomulty was blind in one eye, but according to his family, he never lacked vision.

Tomulty, who grew up in Butte, Mont., was hit in the face with a baseball during a game when he was 15 years old. The injury left him blind in his left eye. It never slowed him down.

According to his son Patrick Tomulty, it was a trait that distinguished him throughout his life.

“That’s just the kind of man my dad was. He was a tough Irish-Catholic who knew how to fight,” Patrick Tomulty said. “He did everything he could to make sure that as a family we were provided. Even if that meant taking three jobs.”

After graduating from high school, Tomulty met his wife, Patricia, in Deer Lodge, Mont., where they raised six sons and one daughter. As the economy began to dry up in Montana, Tomulty gathered his clan and moved to Marysville in 1958. Once there, he opened Jack’s Locker &Meat Market, a business that Patrick remembers fondly.

“All us kids worked there, before school and after. This was before child labor laws were enacted, of course,” Patrick Tomulty said.

Jack Tomulty eventually took a job at the Monroe State Reformatory as a meat cutter. According to Patrick Tomulty, their honor farm would raise and grow all their own food: pork, chicken, beef and vegetables. The inmates didn’t know how to cut meat, which gave Jack Tomulty an idea.

“He decided that he would teach them how to cut their own meat, which made some people unhappy,” Patrick Tomulty said. “He felt that if he could teach them to cut meat that it could go towards an AA degree in culinary arts.”

Some people debated the wisdom of giving groups of prisoners knives, especially when they could make weapons out of much less. Jack Tomulty would say, “If they are tough enough to take me, then they earned it.”

Jack Tomulty died Aug. 11 from complications with pneumonia. He was 83.

Jack Tomulty is survived by his wife, Patricia Marie Tomulty, along with his seven children, Mike Tomulty, Jim Tomulty, Patrick Tomulty, Timothy Tomulty, David Tomulty, Mary-Ann Swiger and Mikey Tomulty; 16 grandchildren; and 24 great-grandchildren.

Reporter Justin Arnold: 425-339-3432 or

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