Obituaries Archive

Obituaries » Thomas Foster DeGroot

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February 25, 1948 - October 21, 2020

A private celebration of Tom’s life will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Kalamazoo YWCA Domestic Assault Program, c/o the funeral home. Joldersma & Klein Funeral Home 917 S. Burdick St. Kalamazoo, MI 49001

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What Tom leaves behind are many beautiful memories. Although I only knew Tom the last 4 years of high school, he stands out in my memory as a true gentleman. He was always kind and thoughtful. His story is beautiful and illustrates a life well lived. I am sure he will live on in the memories he has left behind and comfort you in the days ahead.

Posted by Helen Donahue on October 30, 2020

Lana and family, please allow us to add something to Tom’s lovely tribute. Our sincerest sympathy and gratitude for being included at the annual family Christmas brunch at the Beacon Club. David and I looked forward to it every year. Tom gave so much to his family and community. He will be missed. Warmest regards, David and Jill Hess

Posted by Jill Hess on October 28, 2020

Dear Lana and Family - My heart just about stopped when I read the news in the Kalamazoo Gazette. So many memories came back from my days at DeGroot Office Technology. And even after Tom sold the business he stayed in touch with us "DeGrooters" by inviting us to events at the Beacon Club. It was so wonderful to be part of your family. He had such a zest for life and truly loved his family. Johanna

Posted by Johanna Weber on October 28, 2020

No words can describe how hard this news hits our hearts. The last few days have memories flooding us of all the wonderful times we had at the Beacon Club and with Tom. Every Birthday, Anniversary, Holiday and daily lunches - were always made better by spending a few minutes visiting with Tom. I personally always giggle along with Mark Sandmeyer about how we grew up sitting with our Dads dinning daily at lunch in the Library. We brought Christmas Trees and Large Pumpkins from our farm for the displays at the Beacon Club and were always proud that Tom would ask us to do so. When my Dad (Don Hagadone) passed away - Tom in a true act of friendship had a plaque made for his bar chair -- and then when the club closed, he brought the chair to our family - such a treasured gift. Tom sat at my Dad's bedside on his last day, holding his hand and sharing great stories - again, in a true act of love and friendship. Tom truly knew the human experience was meant to be shared and celebrated- daily. I pray for his family to feel the love in their hearts of all the many people who were touched by this amazing man. May you find comfort in each other's arms. I know my Dad was there in Heaven to welcome his dear friend and that their friendship is eternal. Blessed are those who knew a friend like Tom.

Posted by Jeanne (Hagadone) Gates-Nowak on October 27, 2020

I am so sorry to hear this news. Your family is in my prayers.

Posted by Linda Teare on October 26, 2020

To Lana and all of Tom's family: I was saddened to hear of Tom's death, and you all have my deepest condolences. Tom and I were classmates and friends at Portage Northern High School now over 50 years ago. At that time I was very bookish and unpopular - rightly so, because of a misguided contrariness I adopted as a defense against rejection. Tom, who was deservedly popular, went out of his way to befriend me, and I have always remembered how much his friendship meant to me. After high school, our lives took different paths, and we lost touch. Still, I was happy to meet Tom again a few years back at one our class reunions, and to be introduced to Lana. Their love and visible happiness together was heart warming: I was so pleased to see how his life had been fulfilled. He will remain a bright star in my memory. Best Wishes, William Ellis

Posted by William Ellis on October 26, 2020

To Family and Friends, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you. Tom saw promise in a skinny college grad with an expecting wife that I would never have seen myself. I was very fortunate Tom took me under his wing and went out of his way to shape what has been a long and successful career. He welcomed me and my family into his life. I will forever be grateful for all he did for me. 34 years later, I still apply his teachings and beliefs on how to treat people with respect and integrity. I am fortunate that I was able to speak with him this past February and catch up again. The world has lost a remarkable man. I will miss him dearly.

Posted by Andy Crance on October 26, 2020

Sorry to hear of Tom's passing. Sympathies to his family.

Posted by Laurie (Whitledge) LeClear on October 26, 2020

It has been many years since I've seen Tom, but remember him fondly from school. I'm so sad to hear of his passing, and offer condolences to Lana and his family. Dan and I wish you the best and will keep you in our hearts.

Posted by Diane Lance Kirkconnell on October 26, 2020

I went all through school with Tom and there are many great memories. It was always nice to see him at the Beacon Club and have a chat. He was very gracious and always took time to reminisce about the old days. He will be missed but not forgotten. Darrell Plough

Posted by Darrell Plough on October 26, 2020

So sad to hear about Tom’s passing. He was a favorite of mine at Portage Northern. I will remember his warm smile. May his memory be a blessing to all who loved him.

Posted by Ruth Louisell Levine on October 26, 2020

Family & friends: Tom was a long time client of mine who morphed into a friend. My aunt Helen Georgiou was a friend of his mom and Beacon Club member. It was always fun running into Tom out on the social scene and I recall our last interaction some five years ago prior to my full time move to Florida. I'll say a special prayer for Tom's soul and the comfort of all who miss and love him. Condolences, Mac

Posted by Mac from The Gazette & Top Secret Mystery Shopping on October 24, 2020