APEX Shares Full Obituary of Respected Industry Journalist, Tomás Romero

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Tomás Romero. Photo via Ryan Romero

Having obtained a small collection of images and quotes from those who worked with him throughout his time as a freelance writer for APEX Media, the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is now sharing the full obituary of long-time contributor Tomás Romero with permission from his brother, Ryan Romero. 

Before passing away in August 2023, Tomás provided editorial support to the APEX Media team both in the lead-up to and on-site at events including APEX Content Market, APEX EXPO and APEX TECH, as well as contributing regular articles to the APEX website and its associated print magazine, APEX Experience. Both a content creator himself and a fervent industry cheerleader, the team greatly valued his unique insights and perspectives in this field. 

“Tomás Romero was not just a valued contributor to APEX; he was a beacon of creativity, enthusiasm, and excellence. His work with us over the years was marked by an infectious spirit and a deep understanding of the in-flight community, which he served with unwavering dedication,” APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader stated. “Tomás’s contributions were immeasurable, not only in their depth and insight but also in the warmth and genuine interest he brought to every interaction. His loss leaves a profound void in our APEX family. We honor his memory by continuing to pursue the excellence and innovation he championed so passionately.”

Maryann Simson, APEX Media Director from 2017 until 2021, commented, “Tomás’s passing has been felt sharply by everyone who had the pleasure of working with him. His writing style made reading his stories an absolute delight, and I never once saw him without a smile on his face, or without a few encouraging words to share with the team. He was a passionate and joyful man. You simply don’t come across people like him very often.”

Pictured (left to right): APEX Media team members Kristina Velan, Tomás Romero, Caroline Ku, Howard Slutsken and Ella Ponomarov at a social event during APEX EXPO 2019

“Tomas was always a welcome sight at various passenger experience events around the world. Covering any B2B concert can be a grind, but Tomas embraced his assignments with enthusiasm and a great sense of humor,” said Al St. Germain, APEX Media Publisher between 2014 and 2021. “I’ll also remember his ability to knock out an entertainment piece on little to no notice thanks to his serious screenwriting bonafides. Both the airline and entertainment industries have lost a true advocate and tremendous personality.“

Founder, Editor and Publisher at Runway Girl Network Mary Kirby said, “I feel grateful to have connected with Tomás at last year’s APEX TECH. A highly talented writer and critic, Tomás was also a jolly fun guy to be around, and to work alongside. He is greatly missed by the PaxEx community.” 

Below, we have included the full obituary for Tomás, which was written by his daughter Greta and a shortened version of which appeared in the LA Times last October. Tomás’s brother Ryan was also kind enough to share some photos of Tomás with his family, which we’ve included alongside some photos taken of during his work with the APEX Media team at the 2019 APEX EXPO in Los Angeles.

Tomás working alongside then APEX Experience Editor Caroline Ku at APEX EXPO 2019

“Tomás Norman Romero, aged 54, a loving husband, adoring father, loyal friend, son, and brother, multi faceted writer, fiercely devoted member of the WGA, dogged girl scout troop leader, generous teacher, funny and kind human, passed away in the early hours of August 26, 2023, surrounded by family in his beloved Burbank, California. His passing was the result of complications following a hemorrhagic stroke.

Born in Glendora but raised in Santa Cruz, California, Tomás was the son of Linda and Tomás F. Romero. From a young age he possessed a remarkable gift for storytelling. He would delight his younger siblings Ryan, Courtney, and Brittany with elaborate Barbie doll dramas and would expand the Star Wars universe with his nearly feature length, non canonical action figure plays. 

A passionate cinephile, Tomás received his earliest cinematic education by studying the TV Guide on Sundays, highlighting the late-night classic films scheduled to air that week on local TV Channel 20 then waking up early on school nights so he could record them without commercial interruptions.

Tomás found his true calling when his father acquired a cumbersome video camera system in the early 1980s. With his brother strapped in as cameraman and his sister Courtney as the female lead, Tomás enlisted cousins, friends, and even visiting foreign exchange students to form a spirited ensemble of actors and crew under the banner of “Grand Illusions Productions.” These short films were a blend of action, melodrama, horror, and sci-fi, often combining all these elements into a single production created with a joyous b movie inventiveness.

Tomás with his wife Christine (left) and daughter Greta (center). Photo via Ryan Romero

Tomás pursued his passion for film by attending San Francisco State University, earning a BFA in Film Studies in 1992. It was during his college years that he met Christine, the love of his life, while working at Gap Kids in Laurel Village. Together, they relocated to Burbank, California, and were married in 1995—the same year Tomás earned a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute.

Fresh out of AFI, Tomás wrote a number of screenplays that were bought by Sony Pictures, Fox, Paramount, Telemundo and others. His original screenplay, “Lowlifes,” was adapted into the MTV musical “The American Mall.” He also co-wrote and was Associate Producer for the film “Not Forgotten” which starred a young Chloe Grace Moretz. Little seen upon original release, it has since earned a cult status that we know must have pleased Tomás immensely.

With remarkable versatility, he also excelled as a screenwriting instructor at UCLA Extension and crafted an extensive body of work as a journalist and as poet. Over the past decade he served as a dedicated contributing writer for APEX, the Airline Passenger Experience Association. Through this work he forged countless warm friendships, explored the world, and eagerly anticipated each of its expos with great joy.

Tomás never forgot anything, and the deepest influences of his childhood echoed throughout his life and work. In 2009, the world welcomed the arrival of Tomás and Christine’s daughter, Greta, who was named as a tribute to the iconic Greta Garbo, one of Tomás’s cherished stars from the golden age of Hollywood. And as he embarked on his journey as a poet, he christened his publishing imprint “Moonbeast Media,” drawing inspiration from the 1987 Grand Illusion’s classic “The Invisible Ray of The Moonbeast,” wherein he played the titular anti-hero.

Tomás sits at the head of the table surrounded by the APEX Media team, working on the APEX EXPO Daily Experience magazine at APEX EXPO 2019.

As Greta grew, he become an enthusiastic member of the lively Burbank PTA community. Experiences which became a wellspring of inspiration for his first book of poetry, “PTA Dad: Foul-Mouthed Poetry & Prose from a Real-Life PTA Dad.” In 2020, the PTA honored him with an Honorary Service Award in recognition of his exceptional dedication and service to the Burbank community. And with unwavering passion he devoted 8 years alongside Christine as a Girl Scout Troop Leader, volunteering and wholeheartedly sharing his enthusiasm at Service Unit events.

With Greta, Tomás shared a special and loving bond. They were the best of friends, inseparable in every chapter of life. Often staying up late into the night watching movies, their mutual love for cinema led to countless movie quotes exchanged between them; a secret language that spoke volumes about their shared playfulness and affection.

Our Tommy radiated warmth, humor, and love, leaving an indelible mark on all who knew him. His passing has created an irreplaceable void in the hearts of those fortunate enough to have shared his journey.

Tomás was predeceased by his sister Brittany in 2004 and is survived by his wife, Christine S. Romero, daughter Greta B. Romero, father Tomás F. Romero, mother Linda S. Romero, stepmother Wendy S. Romero, brother Ryan C. Romero and sister Courtney Romero Toland.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring of 2024, to be announced.”