Sunday, June 30, 2019
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
McCowen & Secord Life Story Funeral Homes
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Rosary at 4:00
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.
St. Martin of Tours
5855 East W Ave.
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
To know Tom Kelley was to love Tom Kelley. He was a man of many talents and abilities but most importantly, Tom was a dedicated and hard working man. Throughout his life, Tom pursued the many things he loved and enjoyed, especially being in the great outdoors and taking in the lake. Always an outgoing fellow, he never knew a stranger and could strike up a conversation with anyone. Yet foremost in Tom’s heart was the family he truly loved and treasured, and for these things and so much more, he will be dearly missed.
As World War II raged overseas in 1944, rationing took place on the home front, and women entered the workforce in droves. While the Battle of the Bulge and the D-Day invasion made headlines, it also made for worrisome hearts back home. Yet during these tumultuous times, the entertainment world brought welcome relief with the sounds of Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, while American baseball created a much needed diversion. For Elmer and Donna (Truax) Kelley, there was much to celebrate on August 23, 1944, in the riverfront city of Kalamazoo, Michigan when they welcomed the birth of their son, Thomas into their hearts and home.
Having made their home in Vicksburg and to support their family, Tom’s father worked at the Southland Paper Company while his mother remained at home as a busy homemaker. The fourth of eventually five Kelley children, Tom grew up alongside his siblings, Patrick, Sharon, Michaeline, and Mary Beth. Raised in a family devoted to their Catholic faith, on Tom’s way to parochial school he’d pull at the Indian reeds and by the time he’d get to school his hands would be so dirty the nuns at school would get so mad with him.
Even so, Tom enjoyed a childhood filled with boyhood adventures. He had a few close calls while growing up but the one he never forgot was the time he went sledding and actually slid right under a moving car in the street. He loved to roam the rural area of Vicksburg near his home and he even began working at one of the local farms during his youth.
In high school, Tom met Vickie, the young woman who would forever hold his heart. He was a senior and she was a sophomore, and even though they attended the same church, they didn’t begin a dating relationship until sparks flew between them at a Christmas dance.
Tom went on to graduate from Vicksburg High School in 1963 and soon began working in construction before landing a job at Morren Poultry. With the Vietnam War underway, Tom was then drafted in 1965 to serve in the U.S. Army. Tom spent two years in the military, and served 13 of those months in South Korea during the war. Tom returned home to Vickie’s awaiting arms. They already had begun making wedding plans, but when Tom got out of the service on the fourth of August, he could hardly wait to marry his sweetheart on their wedding day, August 12, 1967. Eight years later Tom and Vickie welcomed the birth of their son, Tom. As a family they took a lot of vacations, even traveling to nearly every state. Tom didn’t fly so they always drove and enjoyed all the sites along the way.
From his earliest years, Tom loved fishing, deer hunting, and anything on the lake. The outdoors in general was Tom’s favorite place to be. He was an animal lover, especially with his favorite cat, Lucy. At home, he especially enjoyed entertaining. Together he and Vickie hosted many Fourth of July, Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations for friends and family throughout the years. His favorite food was quite simply . . . food! Tom loved to eat and never ate healthy all while never gaining a pound!
Tom was very active at church and was also a dedicated member of the Knights of Columbus. He particularly loved hosting the Knight of Columbus picnics each year. After 37 years as a faithful and loyal tool and die journeyman with GM, Tom retired in 2004. This gave him ample time to spoil his one and only grandchild whom he loved dearly. He now had time to do some tinkering which he loved. Quite mechanically inclined, Tom could fix anything and was touted as a very reliable handyman. When it came to music, Tom was a big fan of the late Elvis and country music was his genre of choice.
A very outgoing man, Tom Kelley never knew a stranger and he loved playing jokes on those closest to him. With his uncanny sense of humor, it brought Tom great joy to make others laugh and to see smiles on the faces of those he knew and loved. Deeply missed, Tom will be remembered for all that he was, and more.
Thomas Kelley, age 74, of Vicksburg, was called to our heavenly Father’s home on June 24, 2019. Visit with his family and friends and view his life story film on Sunday, June 30 from 2:00- 4:00 p.m. with a Rosary at 4:00 p.m. at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home-Rupert Durham Chapel; 409 S. Main, Vicksburg, MI (269) 649-1697. A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday, July 1 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Martin of Tours; 5855 E W Ave, Vicksburg, MI 49097. Interment will be at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Left to cherish his memory is his wife of 52 years, Vickie; his son, Tom (Mychi) Kelley and his grandson, Michael. Also surviving are his sisters Sharon (Greg) Kilburn and Mary Beth Barret; sister-in-law, Ruth Kelley and brother-in-law, Keith Sutton as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents: Elmer and Donna; his in-laws, Jose and Jesusita Escamilla; siblings: Patrick Kelley and Michaeline Sutton. Please visit Tom’s memory page at www.mccowensecord.com where you can read his life story, archive a memory or photo, and sign his memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to St. Martin of Tour’s Parish.