In Memory

Tom Otley - Class Of 1961

Tom Otley (1938-1990)


(The following communication is from brother Jim Otley in which he shares his memories of brother Tom, memories that serve as a great tribute to Tom and a celebration of his life.)


Jim, I have looked, but since both parents are gone no one seems to have the actual obituary.  I can tell you that he (Tom) was born in Chicago in 1938 and we moved to Grand Haven in 1949. He graduated from Grand Haven High in 1955 and went to Wooster College in Wooster, Ohio for two years and then transferred to WMU in 1958 graduating in 1959 but he stayed on to work on a masters for one semester.  I believe that this was the time the chapter went active with SAE.  He was married to Pat Schuett in 1960 and they had 3 children.  Erin who graduated from Central Mich. Univ. and recently retired from IBM and lives in Maryland, Tom IV who  graduated from CMU and is currently the banquet manager for the Amway Grand here in Grand Rapids and Caroline who graduated from CMU and currently is living in Spring Lake MI.  Pat has since re-married and is living in Grand Haven.


Tom was interning with Consumers Power in his last year at WMU and joined them when he got married.  He spent the next 30 years moving around Michigan, finally ending up managing the Muskegon power plant.  He was planning on retiring from that position.


As you may know, Tom was an avid tennis player, lettering for four years at GHHS and 2 years at Wooster.  He suffered a massive heart attack while playing tennis in Muskegon in 1990.  He was very proud of being part of the founding of SAE and is the primary reason I chose to follow him. Tom was very active in the Jaycees and was President of the Charlotte MI school board for several years as well as being chairman of Charlottes Frontier Days for several years.  He worked in Jackson, Rochester, Saginaw, Charlotte, Muskegon, Bay City and then finally in Muskegon again.  He was involved with civic affairs in all of his assignments.


I often think about what life would have been like if Tom had had more time.  I have missed him all these years.  


Jim Otley

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06/04/14 10:21 AM #1    

James Otley (1961)

My brother Tom passed away suddenly in 1990 of a heart attack.  He was 51 at that time.

Jim Otley

06/11/14 08:46 AM #2    

John Warren (1961)

Was still getting some publications from WMU in 1990.  I believe that is where I saw the info on Tom's death...Ed Lantz's too.  Since Tom roomed with Dennis, and Dennis was my big brother,  I was in their room a lot and was always impressed with those two guys on how mature they were (seemed to me anyway) and knew what they wanted in life.  They were very different from me in that respect!  I was sorry to read about Tom's passing because he was so young.  He was originally from Grand Haven I believe and didn't he work for Consumers Power or Bell Telepone?  After my family and I got to Hastings in 1976, three other friends passed on at that early age of "around 50", all from heart attacks.   Such is life!   John Warren

06/12/14 03:52 PM #3    

James Otley (1961)

John, You are correct Tom started with Consumers while still at WMU and they were the only company he worked for.  He had  assignments all over Michigan the last being the manager of the plant in Muskegon. He and his family lived in Spring Lake at the time of his passing and yes, that was way too young.


Jim Otley

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