This article could have been entitled “Tales of the Hollywood Shoe Shine Boy,” because Tom Koshar could fill a book with stories about his teenage days as “shoe shine boy to the stars.” He worked on the set of various TV programs at Allied Artists, Columbia Pictures, and Paramount, among others, and shined the shoes of such stars as Raymond Burr, Jackie Cooper, and David Janssen. He worked “backstage” at numerous TV shows in the early sixties; everything from Gunsmoke to Perry Mason to Mr. Ed! Ask him to tell you a few stories!
Tom was born in Youngstown, Ohio, but his family moved to the L.A. area when he was four. He attended school in Garden Grove, but decided to join the Army when he was 17. After basic training and reaching the age of 18, he did a tour in Vietnam. He was a “Road Warrior,” driving trucks in convoys that delivered weapons, ammunition, and other supplies to the front-line troops. He completed his service time in Ft. Knox, Kentucky, before entering the civilian workforce back in California.
He first found work in a factory, but soon decided that wasn’t for him. He then drove a cab for a while before finding his calling in sales. Tom’s career in sales was quite varied; his first job was in magazine sales. Over the years, he was in sales for a family food services business, various jewelry businesses, the insurance business with MetLife, and the real estate business in California and briefly in Arizona. After a year in Phoenix, he and his family relocated to Redmond, Washington, near Seattle.
In the late nineties, Tom was diagnosed with Hepatitis-C and fought that disease for around two years. At that time, treatment included daily interferon injections and oral medications. He was able to “beat it” and return to a productive lifestyle.
After that episode, he entered the after-market vehicle warranty business for a few years prior to going back into real estate after the 2008-2009 crash, focusing on short sales and lender-owned REO properties in the Seattle area.
Tom semi-retired in 2017 and moved to Arizona. He has three daughters and four grandchildren. The eldest daughter and two of the grandkids live here in Arizona, while the middle daughter is in New York and the youngest (with baby twins) is in the Seattle area.
A self-acknowledged workaholic, Tom said he never had time for a lot of outside activities; however, softball was his major diversion. Over the years, he’s played on numerous tournament teams and on many city league and church league teams. His primary position is pitcher. In addition to playing in our Lakes Division and in our Summer League, Tom is a pitcher for a “lots younger men’s’ team” in Gilbert’s Freestone Park League.
So what’s next for the “workaholic”? Tom says he’s seriously considering getting back into real estate or the insurance business again. Or maybe, just maybe, opening up a shoe shine stand!