Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience


Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Thomas Phelps

July 26, 2023
Kalamazoo, MI




Age 83, Thomas "Tom" Phelps passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on July 26th. Tom was born in Valier, IL, the beloved son of Carl and Louise Phelps. Later, the family moved to Joliet, IL, where Tom met his devoted wife of 54 years, Bernie.

As a young man, Tom was active in sports, lettering in track, basketball, and football during his time at Lockport High School. He proudly served in the US Army from 1962 to 1964. Tom's career path led him to General Motors, which eventually brought him and Bernie to Michigan, where they raised their family. Throughout his impressive 30-year tenure at GM, he advanced to the position of superintendent while also pursuing and completing his Masters in Business before retiring in 1992.

In retirement, Tom found joy in traveling, always taking the lead in mapping out the routes and confidently steering the wheel. He enjoyed weekly golfing sessions and, during the winter months, cherished moments of playing cards and having breakfast with his friends. Tom had a unique talent for shopping, especially for clothes, and couldn't pass up a bargain.

Tom was an active and beloved member of the Moose Lodge, where he was affectionately known as "Boss" and "Pops." He was also a dedicated member of the VFW, Elks, Eagles, and American Legion. However, his greatest happiness in life came from spending time with his family and spoiling his granddaughters, who lovingly referred to him as "Papa."

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Louise Phelps; his wife, Bernie Phelps; and his sister, Carla Thomas. He is survived by his daughters, Kris Phelps and Lynn (John) Hammel; granddaughters, Emily (Austin) Wojciechowski and Molly Hammel; his sister, Sandra Hopper; brother, Ronald (Michelle) Phelps; cousin, Gloria Day; as well as several cousins, nieces, nephews, and close family friends.

Family and friends will gather to celebrate Tom's life, alongside his late wife Bernie, at St. Ambrose Church, 1628 East G Ave. Parchment, on Friday, August 4th. The visitation will commence at 1:00 pm, followed by a memorial service at 2:00 pm, and a luncheon immediately following at the church hall. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Tom may be made to the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center or the American Diabetes Association. Friends and family may leave a condolence message online at