Thomas John Steel, 87, passed away peacefully on June 13, 2019, in Grand Rapids. He was born in Grand Rapids on June 15, 1931, to Thomas A. and Dorothy Cowin Steel.
Tom graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in 1949, and Michigan State University in 1954. At MSU, he met the love of his life, Margaret Ann Schank, and they married in 1955.
Tom served as 1st Lt. in the United States Air Force stationed in Harlingen, Texas, where they spent their first married years. Moving back to the Midwest, Tom worked for more than 30 years in the commercial mortgage banking field, primarily in Chicago. He held the prestigious MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute and was a past president of the Illinois chapter.
In 1992, Tom and Margaret moved to their dream home on the shore of Lake Michigan near Saugatuck. Tom worked as a commercial real estate appraiser over the next 19 years. Shortly following his retirement in 2011, they moved back to his hometown of Grand Rapids.
Tom was a considerate and universally liked person who exhibited a genuine interest in others. He was committed to his family, friends, and community. As an Eagle Scout himself, he remained active in the Boy Scouts of America, chaperoning his son’s canoeing and camping trips.
He made many lasting friendships throughout his life, including his Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity brothers, his many tennis and golfing buddies, the multitude of relationships he developed in his professional life, and his neighbors in the lakeshore and Quail Crest communities.
He enjoyed sports, both as a competitor and spectator, and was a die hard Spartan fan. After a nail biting MSU victory, Tom was known to say that there was “never a doubt” about the outcome of the game.
Tom loved his special relationships with his children and grandchildren. He invested the time to genuinely know and appreciate each of them and remained consistently engaged in their lives. He made it a point to visit all of his grandchildren at their respective colleges.
Tom and Margaret loved nothing more than to host family and friends at their home. Tom especially enjoyed spending time at the lakeshore with these special people…grilling, entertaining, swimming, riding the John Deere and enjoying a Scotch and cigar on the deck.
Tom was preceded in death by Margaret, his loving wife and best friend of 59 years, and survived by his three children, Shelley (Ron) Mishler of Grand Rapids; Kathryn (Jeff) Sangalis of Dallas, Texas; and Tom Steel Jr. of Glenn; six grandchildren, John Mishler of Houston, Texas; Jennifer (Rich) Tompkins of Houston, Texas; Megan (Christopher) Myers of Ames, Iowa; Emily (Matthew) Senchuk of Houston, Texas; Ellen Mishler of Dallas, Texas; and Christine (Ricky) Perusquia of New York, N.Y.; and three great-grandchildren, Marcela Steel Myers, Holly Dolores Myers and Owen Christopher Tompkins. He is also survived by his sister, Laura Steel Page of DuPont, Wash.; his niece Carolyn; and nephew Tom.
Though all will greatly miss their dad, G-dad, great G-dad, uncle, and friend, there is great comfort in knowing that Tom has been reunited with his wife and is forever at home with his savior Jesus Christ.
Family will receive friends at a visitation on Sunday, June 23, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Service, 4291 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids. A memorial service and celebration of Tom’s life will take place on Tuesday, June 24, at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2700 Fulton St. SE, Grand Rapids. Following the service there will be a reception at Thousand Oaks Golf Club, 4100 Thousand Oaks Drive, Grand Rapids.
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