Life Story / Obituary
Thomas Flemming, aka T. Francis, Pappa Tom, Dr. Divorce, Lovey Ducky and, of course, Dad, a hippy-dog-dude from Kalamazoo, MI passed away peacefully on May 14, 2021, at the age of 78 with his #TeamTom Fan Club by his side. Tom is survived by his daughter, Ursula, his favorite son-in-law, Keith, and his grandchildren, Riley, Carter, and Peyton; his love and life companion, Jan White; his brother and best friend, Roy Flemming and sister-in-law, Toni Flemming, and sister-in-law, Linda Walters; along with his many incredible friends and extended family including: “The Mediocre Croakers”, “Merriweather Lane Gang”, “Friday Night Drinking/Smoking Buddies”, “Supper Club”, and the “Coping with Divorce Crew” just to name a few. He is preceded in death by billions, including his parents, Gertrude and Don Flemming (Busha and Pappa), and his brother, Gerald Flemming. We are confident that they are joyfully reconnecting right now – probably over a lovely martini and Busha’s Jell-o mold.
If you knew Tom, you knew you were loved, and there is a good chance he told you that. During his time here with us, he found a way into everyone's heart... and was especially fond of his one and only baby girl – Ursula who he adored (obviously) and his heart belonged to his “Dimple Dumpling” and life partner, Jan. Along with the incredible motley crew of folks that surrounded him, he loved (and in no particular order): road trips/adventures/discoveries with his brother Roy, peanut butter ice cream, NPR, The Beatles, long bike rides on his trusty tandem bicycle “Jack Taylor”, politics, trains, Busha’s chocolate chip cookies and banana spice cake, “Law and Order”, his posy's, yelling at the crazy politicians on MSNBC, Kowalski’s polish Kielbasa with good horseradish on rye, trips to Missouri / lake house, PBR (but, really any cheap beer and if purchased by a friend, even better), jazz, corn fritters & potato pancakes, Christmas morning, stuffed mushrooms, long walks on the beaches of Lake Michigan, riding with the top down in Silver (his convertible Mazda Miata), the original “Grinch who Stole Christmas", Kerns summer sausage, audio books, the fine herb, Great Grains cereal, his chores, hosting parties, laughing heartily, singing loudly, playing his guitar and having a good bourbon and conversation with friends. Tom hated: cheese, Donald Trump, Mannheim Steamroller, temperatures below 72 degrees, most dogs (okay, all dogs), a limp handshake, a party that ended too early, and a dirty vehicle. That’s it. Tom was content with most everything else.
A Celebration of Life will be held later this summer. Admission is free to all who attend this once in a lifetime show for the greatest man on earth. Plan to bring your “Tom Stories” along with your dancing shoes. Tom requested jamming out to The Beatles and raising a glass (preferably PBR) in celebration of his Wonderful Life. In lieu of flowers, please pray that the Democrats keep control, or send a donation to your local NPR station in Tom’s name. He would appreciate either or both.
As Dr. Seuss eloquently stated, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Thank you, Tom for making our lives all the richer because you were in it.
Visit Tom's personal webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com where you are encouraged to archive your favorite Tom Story or photo and sign his online guestbook. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.