Saturday, January 22, 2022
11:00 AM EST
2345 10th St. N.
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Centerpoint Church will have adequate space to gather safely and social distance while celebrating Tom.
Saturday, January 22, 2022
12:30 PM to 4:00 PM EST
3501 Greenleaf Blvd
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
The restaurant is reserved and will have adequate space to gather safely and social distance while celebrating Tom.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
WMU Bronco Athletic Fund (Fromerly the Mike Gary Athletic Fund)
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Dr. Tom Saewert lived a life rich in family and friends. Dedicated to excellence, Tom brought a sense of integrity and remarkable care both to his professional calling as a dentist and his responsibilities as a husband and father. Possessing a tremendous love for family, friends, team, and patients alike, Tom confidently met life’s challenges while also embracing opportunities to let loose and enjoy life. He welcomed each day as a gift and every person as a friend.
Tom was born on October 20, 1946, in Kalamazoo Michigan, the second child of Jeanette (Nash) and Charles ‘Bud’ Saewert. Growing up in West Michigan during the 50s and 60s, Tom formed a lifelong friendship with his cousin, Jim MacPhee, who lived on the same street. Tom and Jim were as close as brothers and enjoyed many adventures together. Tom’s dad was in construction, but encouraged his son to find his own path, which eventually led to a lifelong passion for his chosen career as a dentist.
Football was of particular importance in Tom’s life. A linebacker on Portage High School’s football team, Tom was honored for his excellence on the field by the Greater Kalamazoo All-Star and Big Six Conference. After graduating with the class of 1964, he attended Western Michigan University, where he was a walk-on for the football team. As a result of a focus and skill that surprised many, Tom earned a football scholarship his second year. By his junior year, he was a starting linebacker, despite being the smallest one on the team. Known as, “A deadly tackler and outstanding pass defender,” Coach Bill Doolittle said, “For his size, he was one of the best I ever coached.” Tom played a major role in the team winning the 1966 MAC Championship, the very first for the university.
Tom pursued his call to dentistry at the University of Michigan Dental School. Graduating with honors in 1973, Tom returned to the Kalamazoo area, where he began his practice. For over 40 years, Tom served his community with an unwavering commitment to excellence. With meticulous perfectionism, he held his staff to a high standard, but balanced his professional rigor with love and dedication, as well as his goofy sense of humor. He loved telling jokes, but was the worst at it! With characteristic perfectionism, he would write jokes on 3x5 cards, keeping them tucked away in an office drawer for the right moment. Though his jokes were well planned, his delivery needed work! With an unbeatable knack for terrible timing, he’d wait until every instrument was in a patient’s mouth (and they couldn’t respond) before reading a joke or asking a question. Over time though, his singular form of ice-breaking helped establish an unbreakable bond with his patients. A recipient of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon award, the George R. Moore Memorial award in orthodontics, as well as the Arthur H. Merritt award in periodontics, Tom was deeply respected by his staff and patients. Even after retiring, not a day went by that his patients didn’t ask about him.
In 1988 Tom took a date to the movies, and left the theater having met the love of his life. Waiting in the theater lobby while his date went to the restroom, Tom ran into close friends Jim and Jane Bauschke. They introduced Tom to Susan Johnston. Instantly smitten, the two were lost in conversation and Tom walked into the movie with Susan, forgetting about the date he came with! The rest, as they say, is history.
On October 20, 1990, Tom and Susan married in Chicago, Illinois. With Susan at his side, encouraging him at every turn, Tom expanded his horizons in so many ways. Early on, Tom wasn’t one to particularly enjoy hosting parties. However, after hosting one with Susan, he immediately asked when the next one was going to be and quickly became the life of every party. Susan also convinced Tom to try flying. Despite his previous terror, he grew to love traveling. Over the years, he and Susan enjoyed many travel adventures, including fun trips to the Caribbean, Europe, and throughout the United States. One of their favorite trips was to Italy, where they stayed in Perugia during the famous Chocolate Festival. They enjoyed an Italian cooking class while there, and Tom even attempted to drive, albeit with white knuckles clenching the steering wheel most of the time.
In addition to his work, Tom inherited his father’s passion for construction and remodeling. He was a consummate craftsman who approached every project with a keen eye. His attention to detail ensured exceptional work and a tremendous sense of satisfaction as he remodeled multiple homes for Susan and himself. He also built his dental offices.
Among his many gifts, Tom was an excellent musician. He started playing drums as a teenager in a band called The Deacons with his cousin, Jim. During dental school, he played in another band, The Molar Mechanics, with his fellow dental students. The band even recorded one of the songs they wrote, and Tom’s indelible laugh is forever cemented in the background of the recording.
A sports enthusiast, Tom enjoyed golf, tennis, and anything to do with football. He taught his daughters all about football and enjoyed coaching the girls’ softball teams when they were young. A lifelong, dedicated WMU Bronco fan, Tom enjoyed tailgating with his big grill. Somehow, he even came in second in a tailgating contest he and Susan hadn’t even entered.
Whether asserting that Windex cleans anything, playing his favorite song, ‘Louie Louie’, checking things off his to-do list, or sharing time with his loved ones, Tom always gave his very best. Nowhere was this more evident than in his love for his grandchildren. Despite the geographical distance between them, Grandpa Dude took full advantage of every moment he shared with his family, and his oddball humor never worked better than with his grandkids.
Tom Saewert, D.D.S., of Kalamazoo, age 75, died on December 9, 2021. Tom was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Charlene Harrell. Surviving are his wife, Susan; children: Nicole (Joe) Whitesel, Magee (Dan) Patzer, and Andrea (Sam) Giacomantonio; and 10 grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place. Funeral services will be held at 11 AM Saturday, January 22nd, at Centerpoint Church, 2345 10th St N., Kalamazoo, with visitation one-hour prior. A reception will follow at Martell’s Restaurant, 3501 Greenleaf Blvd. The restaurant is reserved and will have adequate space to gather safely and social distance while celebrating Tom.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank the entire staff of Beacon Pointe Memory Care as well as Kindred Hospice for their care and compassion. Visit Tom’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to WMU Bronco Athletic Fund (formerly the Gary Athletic Fund), Beacon Pointe Memory Care, or Kindred Hospice. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.