Thomas Carey ’56

Thomas Carey ’56, 85, of Holland, Michigan, passed away August 16, 2018.

Tom was born May 4, 1933, in Bravo, Michigan, to Hazel and John Carey and attended Holland Public Schools. After a year of playing football at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado his love for the lovely Julie Smith, now his wife of 61 years, brought him back to Holland, Michigan to attend Hope College. Upon graduating from Hope College he completed a Master’s degree at Western Michigan University in Counseling. Tom began teaching at Holland High School in the history department and after one year he became the Director of Guidance and Counseling for 30 years. He was president of the Michigan Guidance Directors Association and Christian Counseling Services. One of his greatest achievements while in the education field was receiving the State Guidance Award. After a failed retirement he became the Director of Business and Industry at Davenport College and later became the Dean. He was instrumental in the development, from the ground up, of the Holland Campus of Davenport College. During his 42 years in education he was involved with the Holland Police Department’s Victim Assistance program and employed by Ottawa County as a parole officer. He could also be found in the Holland High field house or Riverview Park as a color commentator for WHTC. As an active, devout member of the Holland Methodist Church in both Holland and Kalkaska; he served as a trustee; Sunday School teacher and was integral in the fellowship hall in the Kalkaska Methodist church.

Tom’s natural athletic ability opened doors to a young man who dealt with divorce, poverty, family conflict and low self-esteem. Football and track were easy outlets for Tom and he excelled in both sports leading to his coaching career as a high school and rocket football and track coach. Known affectionately as “coach,” Tom influenced many students to use their abilities to help others continue their journey to self-realization. Tom has shared and passed along not only his conviction that higher learning can change people’s lives, but living a life of service to others is the key to becoming a good person.

After the football and track cleats were hung up in college, Tom didn’t sit around very long. He competed in the Senior Olympics and broke the state record in the 100 meter sprint and high jump. Tom loved hunting and fishing and enjoyed his cabin up north. He was a fierce competitor in bass tournaments in his sparkly brown bass boat. Tom is survived by his loving bride of 61 years, Julie Smith Carey; his sons Tom Carey of Grand Haven, Andy Carey and Wife Mary of Alto, Michigan and their two sons David and Tom Carey and daughter Anne Weber and her husband Shea of San Clemente, California and their three children Tanner, Juliana and Tristan.

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