Thomas Bos ’61

Thomas G. Bos, husband, father, step-father, grandfather, businessman, Rotarian and captain passed away at his home in Malibu, California at the age of 81 on July 27, 2020. Thomas was born on March 8, 1939 in Holland, Michigan and married the love of his life, Jane, on August 16, 1991.

Thomas brightened the day of every person he met and will be remembered for his enthusiasm for life, quick wit, curiosity, infectious laugh, dedication to service and faith, optimism, generosity, boisterous singing, and his adventurous spirit. He loved life and lived it fully.

Thomas is survived by his wife, Jane, and their two dogs, Nike and Izzy, his brother, Philip Bos (wife Barbara) of Hudson, OH, sister-in-law Johanna Bos of Louisville, KY, his sons, Thomas J. Bos (wife Laurie) of Holland, MI and John Bos (wife Janna) of Locust Grove, GA, and step-children Matthew Schroeder (wife Shahna) of Washington D.C. and Joanna Schroeder (husband Ivan Stoilkovich) of Malibu, CA. Thomas is also survived by his beloved grandchildren; David, Megan and Tommy Bos, Hailey and Heather Bos, Amira and Ruan Schroeder, and Izac, Boden and Rae Stoilkovich. Thomas was preceded in death by his parents, Alvin D. and Eunice Bos, and his brother, A. David Bos.

Thomas graduated from Holland High School in 1957 and went on to receive a B.A. from Hope College in 1961. He later received a M.A. in Education from Western Michigan University.

After college, Thomas taught math and science at West Ottawa Public Schools for several years, before joining his father, Alvin, at the A.D. Bos Vending Company, of Holland, Michigan. While Thomas loved teaching, his father “made him an offer he couldn’t refuse” and he joined the family business.

Thomas became President in 1972 and led the company through continuous growth through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. In 1994, Thomas was named Holland’s Small Business Person of the year and was further honored as Michigan’s Small Business Person of the Year in Washington D.C in 1995. In 2019, Thomas G. and his son, Thomas J., presented the A.D. Bos Vending Company story at Hope College as a part of the annual Meijer Lecture Series, focused on family-owned businesses that have had a historical impact on West Michigan. Thomas served as Chairman at the A.D. Bos Vending Company until his death.

Thomas was a lifelong volunteer and non-profit board member and was civically engaged at the local, national and international levels, most notably as a member of Rotary Club of Holland, Rotary Club of Malibu and Rotary International. Thomas reminded everyone of this by frequently wearing Rotary apparel and prominently displaying a Rotary license plate on the front of his car. Thomas lived Rotary’s motto “service above self” and completed service and Polio immunization projects with Rotary around the world, including in India, Africa, Mexico, Honduras and Jamaica. He also served as District Governor for the greater Michigan region, was a frequent host to Rotary exchange students & often shared his service experiences abroad with clubs around the country to inspire others to serve.

Through his life, Thomas also held board and leadership positions with organizations including the Holland Area Arts Council, Junior Achievement of Holland, Holland Area Campfire Council, Holland Downtown Development Association, Holland Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Association of Michigan, and the Michigan Distributors and Vendors Association. Thomas and Jane received the G.W. Haworth Strength of the Community Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 from the Ottawa County United Way.

Thomas was baptized on May 14,1939 at Third Reformed Church, of Holland, and joined the church on June 29, 1952, where he served as Deacon many times and was a member of the choir. Thomas was devout in his faith and was always ready to bless a meal or gathering with prayer. Thomas also served as a board member of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey from 2006 to 2015.

Thomas had a lifelong passion for boating and sailing and was an able captain. He, Jane and other friends and family (crew) completed the 8,500 mile “Great Loop” on his boat Lady Jane on August 25, 2007 after 34 months of travel, cruising from Holland, MI, down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico, up the East Coast and back to the Great Lakes through the Canadian Heritage Canal system. Thomas is pictured here upon his return. Thomas also spent many years in the Holland Flotilla of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, helping keep boaters safe on Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan.

Later in life, Thomas spent time with family and community in Holland, where he could often be found hosting lakeside neighborhood bonfires, serving as “morale officer” while sailing in Muskegon with friends and driving his green Austin-Healey roadster around town. He also spent time in Malibu, where he enjoyed walking his dogs on the beach, getting his cafe latte at Starbucks and reading in the sun until it was time for happy hour with family and friends.

Thomas will be deeply missed and well remembered by all who knew him.

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