Saturday, June 25, 2016
6:00 PM EDT
Diamond Family Home
47046 24th Street
Mattawan, MI 49071
TRIBUTE RIDE INFORMATION: For people who would like to join from the south, 1 PM meet at the Diamond Family Home and ride to Cocktailz Bar & Grill, 131 Water St.; Hopkins. We'll reassemble at 2 PM at Cocktailz Bar & Grill and meet friends and family joining us from the north. The Tribute Ride will end at the Diamond Family Home approximately 6 PM.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
American Brain Tumor Association
8550 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 550
Chicago, IL 60631
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Tom S. Diamond was the kind of man they just don’t make anymore, a self-made man who laughed and loved and lived every day to the fullest. He was tough, but he was fair. He was funny, but you better believe he was serious, too. He could be quiet, but he was always cool. He was a loving husband, and a dear dad, the friend you always wanted by your side. He was the kind of man you couldn’t help but want to be around, with a presence, a gravity that went beyond his good looks or that devilish grin. Most of all, Tom was a man who built his life with his bare hands, a life those who knew him were so lucky to have shared.
Tom’s story began on a cool November day in 1950, as the winter winds began to whip through the streets of Chicago. It was the start of the Baby Boomer generation, during a turbulent time of the Korean Conflict overseas and the Greatest Generation getting back to the rebuilding of the American Dream. On November 28th, a cold, blustery day in Chicago, proud parents Audrey and Socrates “Sam” Diamond welcomed home their firstborn, a baby boy they named Tom. Later, Tom would be joined by brothers John and Nick, and his baby sister, Elena.
Tom’s dad had emigrated from Greece in his early 20s, and worked as an accountant and store manager for Brach’s Candy Company, while Tom’s mother worked along side of Sam at the store with baby Tom in tow. After the family moved to Kalamazoo, she became a seamstress for Stryker. Audrey grew up as part of a large and blended family of fourteen children. She was an excellent cook and learned how to prepare many mouth-watering Greek dishes that were favorites of Sam’s. Greek Easter and Thanksgiving were always highly festive and very important holidays in the Diamond household. Tom was very proud of his Greek heritage so later when he began a family of his own, he passed along many of those same customs he had experienced as a child. Tom had a large extended family with many wonderful aunts and uncles, but one aunt was like a second mother to him, his Aunt Charlotte who was his mother’s youngest sister. When she was a teenager, Charlotte helped to raise Tom by living with Audrey and Sam for a short stint when he was very young.
Tom grew up strong, and strong-willed, and always knew he was the one steering his ship. Attending Kalamazoo Central High School, Tom had his eyes on one girl and one girl only, Margaret Hilda Bruggler. Like Babe Ruth pointing at the outfield fence, Tom even called it. He famously told his friend George one day, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry!” — it didn’t matter that she was dating a high school wrestler at the time!
Soon after graduation in 1968, while driving by her home, Tom saw Margaret on the front stoop. He slammed on the brakes and threw the car in reverse, stopping to say hello, his charm running full throttle. That’s all it took for Margaret, who was head over heels for him from that day forward.
And they were quite the couple, both good-looking and playful, and very much in love. Margaret loved to cover him in kisses, Tom, of course, pretending to resist, grinning broadly, that glint in his eye all the while. The two married on May 19, 1972, starting a life they’d build together, and building a family together, too. It wasn’t long before they welcomed a pair of beautiful daughters, Tamara and Desiree, who added a brighter gleam to their dad’s eye.
Tom was an incredibly hard worker, and toiled on the night shift at National Water Lift Company in the early years. By day he was busy building his own family-based home construction business, Diamond Construction. Tom built his very first house with his bare hands and with the help of his young bride Margaret who was carrying their first child during the process. They completed this ambitious project just in time for the arrival of their daughter, Tamara. In this house the foundation was laid for the life they would build together, it is where Margaret still resides.
If it could be built, and needed to be built right, Tom Diamond was just the guy to do it. A conscientious building contractor, Tom’s work was quality from top to bottom, down to the smallest details. That ethic carried over to his crew, too. He was highly respected by many in his profession and his company earned the reputation of being one of the best framing crews in town. He took great pride in making sure that no two homes he built were ever alike, and each and every client was fully satisfied. Family being so important to Tom, it is no wonder that the foundation of his crew included his cousin, Al and Al’s son, Josh. He loved sharing his gifts of quality and craftsmanship within his community for over 38 years.
Of course, Tom was far from all work and no play. He built his life with his bare hands, but he grabbed life with both hands, too. In the early 70s, Tom even built his own chopper. He lived for hitting the open road on his motorcycle, Margaret clinging tightly on the back, his friends roaring right alongside him. Tom was a true Harley aficionado and owned a couple over the years, but one of his favorite bikes was an old police motorcycle that he had added his own personal customized touches to. Tom loved having Margaret ride with him, and even bought her a bike of “her own” once — but not the lessons that went with it! For Tom, it was the thought that always counted the most.
As a couple they had plenty of great friends together over the years, including Sharon and Michael. They enjoyed riding their motorcycles, camping and they even bowled on a league together. The couples also raised their daughter’s together. Tom’s best friend was his neighbor, Frank, who along with his wife Lynn and their two children moved in to the house next door. They quickly bonded over their Harleys, and riding together became a favorite pastime. Over the course of their friendship, Tom and Frank became well known for throwing large parties, bonfires, and cookouts with plenty of food and drink, and lots of laughs, too. They were practically inseparable, and were each fond of telling people that they felt as though they were “brothers from another mother”.
Tom had no shortage of friends, being the great friend that he was. Whatever you needed, he was there. He was known to drop everything to help a friend in need, whether it was construction, car problems, or troubleshooting. Tom helped wholeheartedly expecting nothing in return. Friends knew that his shop door was always open if they needed advice, a good chat or chuckle, or a cold beer!
As much as he loved his friends, family was first to Tom, and Tamara and Desiree were the apples of his eye. He was grateful for their many accomplishments, both completing college and marrying well. He didn’t say “I love you,” often, but when he did you knew he meant it, and you knew you meant everything. Tom showed his affection in good-natured ribbing, and especially loved to poke fun at his sons-in-laws, Jason and Scott. It was his way of showing his love and fatherly pride for his daughter’s families. From building Tamara and Jason’s custom home, to welcoming the births of his grandsons, Dylan and Tyler, born to Desiree and Scott, Tom found his greatest sense of accomplishment in his family.
In later years, Tom took the loss of his own mother’s passing very hard, and he began to look toward retirement. He planned to fill it riding on the open road, and in continuing to help the people around him by offering his services to those in need. Sadly, Tom died with his loving wife by his side, after a very courageous battle with cancer.
Tom was the kind of man they just don’t make any more, a self-made man who wasn’t afraid of hard work and who had common sense, a Cheshire grin and a gleam in his eye. Most of all, Tom was a larger-than-life force of nature, a man who built a life for his family with his bare hands, but shared it with open arms. To know him was an honor.
Tom S. Diamond, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, May 31st at the age of 65. Tom was preceded in death by his father, Socrates “Sam” Diamond; mother, Audrey Opal (Pease) Diamond; father-in-law, James C. VanLoo; and nephew, Zachary S. Diamond. He is survived by his wife, Margaret (Bruggler) Diamond; daughters: Tamara Diamond (Jason Meyle) and Desiree Bouters (Scott); grandsons: Dylan and Tyler Bouters; brothers: John Diamond (Lisa) and Nick Diamond; sister, Elena Diamond (Mitchell Cohn); mother-in-law, Martina (Unterhuber) VanLoo; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Coolidge; aunt, Charlotte Will; and many nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends. A Tribute Ride is planned for Saturday, June 25, 2016, for people who would like to join from the south (Paw Paw, Mattawan, Kalamazoo, etc) meet at the Diamond Family Home at 1 PM. From there, riders will meet family and friends in Hopkins at the Cocktailz Bar & Grill, 131 Water Street at 2 PM. Continuing on until approximately 6 PM, where a celebration of this amazing man will take place at the Diamond Family Home. Harley’s are encouraged to participate in the Tribute Ride. Contributions in his honor can be made to American Brain Tumor Association and Habitat for Humanity. Visit Tom’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory of photo of him and sign his online guestbook. Arrangements by Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900).