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Thomas George HeldSeptember 30, 2017
Thomas George Held passed away at 86 years of age on September 30, 2017 after a brief illness. He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Nanette G. Held (nee Foran), in 2008, who was laid to her final resting place on the date of their 55th wedding anniversary. Mr. Held is survived by his sons Michael (Stacey), and Craig (Katy), his daughter Lynette (John) Hagenbush and his grandchildren Kendall and Caroline Held, Oscar Held, and Jillian and Catherine Hagenbush. Tom was born in Toledo, OH, the son of Louis and Lucille Held. He had a sister Jean, who was one year older and died at the young age of 48. Tom attended Longfellow Grade School and DeVilbiss High School. In the Fall of 1949, he enrolled at The University of Toledo with a major in Industrial Management. The major was later changed to Business Management. At the University, Tom was president of the Inter-Fraternity Council for one year and also president of his local fraternity, Sigma Beta Phi. At that time that it was merged into a national fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi. It was at the University that Tom and Nan first met. They were married on August 22, 1953 the summer after both graduated. Nan’s degree was in Education. Nan was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority. That Fall, Tom enrolled at the University of Michigan for a one-year master’s program while Nan taught at a elementary school in Ypsilanti, MI. In September of 1954 Tom graduated from the University of Michigan with honors and became employed with Westinghouse Electric. He and Nan moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where Tom entered the Company’s management training program. After brief training stints in Columbus, OH and Cleveland, OH, Tom found permanent placement in the Company’s Market Research Department in Pittsburgh. They lived in an apartment on the second floor of a residential home in Wilkinsburg, PA until Tom was drafted into the U.S. Navy in March of 1956. During his time in the Navy as a Personnelman 3rd Class until the time of his discharge in September of 1957 he was stationed at the Naval Training Center in Waukegan, IL. After basic training he was assigned to the Naval Exam Center that was located on the base. The position entailed the statistical analysis of Naval advancement tests that had been administered. Nan rejoined him at that time, after staying with her parents in Toledo, OH while Tom was in basic training, and again found a position teaching in an elementary school in Waukegan. They lived in the military complex on the base. Their first child Michael, was born in a civilian hospital in Waukegan, Illinois. Following his discharge one month later, Tom began working for an advertising agency-Needham, Louis & Brorby- in the Prudential Building in downtown Chicago. Again, he was involved in Market Research. After a second brief stay at her parent’s home, Nan rejoined Tom when they acquired an apartment in Park Forest, IL. Tom commuted on the Illinois Central Railroad for the 64-mile round trip to his position in Chicago. Their second son, Craig was born in Harvey, IL. Upon becoming disenchanted with the lengthy and tedious commute, Tom began exploring other employment opportunities in the latter part of 1960. In October of that year, Tom interviewed with the Lincoln-Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, MI. At that time, Nan’s brother, Richard Foran, was working at the Lincoln-Mercury Division Offices but was unaware that Tom was interviewing. They encountered each other in line at the company’s cafeteria. Tom accepted Ford’s employment offer and borrowed $1000 from his father for a down payment. Their move from Park Forest to Farmington, MI was into the first home of their own. It was located on Robinwood Street and was a new house, with Nan and Tom and their two sons being the first occupants. Tom’s first responsibilities were with the Used Car Department of Lincoln-Mercury. This was followed by assignments in the Advertising Department and then the Marketing Plans Department. Their daughter, Lynette, was born at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. This addition completed their family. In March of 1966 the family purchased a home on Wellington Street in Woodcreek Farms in Farmington Hills, MI and, again, they were the first owners of the home. Their stay was short-lived, however, as 6 months later, Tom was transferred to the L-M District Sales Office in Oakland, CA. They moved into a newly constructed home located in Moraga, CA at 711 Camino Ricardo in November of 1966. Tom initially worked as the Business Management Manager in the Oakland District Sales Office. His responsibility was to call on dealers and assist, as needed, in office management procedures and policies. One year later, he was promoted to the position of Market Representation Manager in the Office of the Western Region Manager, which also was located in Oakland. Again, about a year later, Tom returned to the Oakland District Office as Assistant District Manager. This position was also short-lived and, in May 1969 Tom was called back to Dearborn as the Dealership Real Estate Manager for Lincoln-Mercury. Although the position was retitled several times over the years the job content essentially remained the same and Tom retired from here in May, 1991. During retirement Tom played golf (Twin Beach Country Club), continued his hobby of coin collecting, pursued his interest in movies and, with Nan, expanded the breadth of their travels, both foreign and domestic. In June, 2007, Nan and Tom moved to a new house they built in Grand Rapids, which is close to where their daughter Lynette and her family lives. They left their home at 28915 Oak Point Drive, Farmington Hills, MI, which they had lived in ever since returning from California, 38 years earlier. Shortly after joining Ford in 1960, Nan and Tom became members of Antioch Evangelical Lutheran Church in Farmington Hills. Their membership was put on hold during their time in California and re-established upon their return to Michigan. Not counting that 3-year hiatus, they were members of Antioch for about 44 years. Tom ran a Stewardship Campaign one year, twice served terms on the church council and ushered for the last 10-12 years of their membership. Nan served on church council, was head of the Evangelism Committee, was a Monday “counter” for a number of years and active with the church in many other ways. Upon moving to Grand Rapids, Nan and Tom joined Trinity Lutheran Church, the church of daughter Lynette and her family. A Celebration of Tom’s life will be held 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2700 E. Fulton, Grand Rapids, where the family will receive friends from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens in Novi, MI on Thursday. For those who wish, flowers may be sent care of the church or donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.
American Cancer Society
129 Jefferson Ave. S.E., Grand Rapids MI 49508