Cover photo for Thomas A. Mack's Obituary
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1948 Thomas 2022

Thomas A. Mack

September 26, 1948 — April 15, 2022

Thomas A. Mack

Tom, resident of Finneytown since 1991, passed away peacefully on April 15, 2022, with his loving family by his side.  Tom is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Bonnie Mack (nee Pelander), and dear children Christopher (Christi) Mack, Carrie (Adam) Clouse and Timothy (Ann) Mack.  He was a wonderful “Papa” to his grandchildren, Michael (Pichaelbees), Lainee (Lainee-lou from Kalamazoo), Mason (Masonovich), Maddie (Matilda), Hailee (Hail-Bail), Joe (Josephus or Cephus), Brayden (Buddy) and Sam (Samster the Hamster.)  Loving brother and brother-in-law to Ted (Bev) Mack, Theresa Mack, Mary (Jim) Norwood, Barb (Glenn) Hanniford, John (Mary) Pelander and Eric Pelander/Evalyn Gates.  He is preceded in death by his parents, LeRoy and Mary Aileen Mack (Goeller) and brother, Dan Mack.

Visitation Thursday, April 28, 4-7 PM at Hodapp Funeral Home, 6041 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, OH

A Celebration of Life Mass, Friday, April 29, 11:00 AM at St. Clare Church, 1443 Cedar Ave., College Hill OH.

The service will be live-streamed beginning at 10:55AM at https://saintclareparish.weshareonline.org/

and will be available for 30 days.  Donations may be made to City Gospel Mission – www.citygospelmission.org/donate/give-donation/

or St. Clare Church https://saintclareparish.weshareonline.org/

Thomas A. Mack was born September 26, 1948, in Cincinnati, to LeRoy and Mary Aileen Mack.  Tom grew up in Hamilton, Ohio along with his three younger siblings, Ted, Dan, and Mary.  Tom’s dad died when he was 11, and his mom began single parenting four kids ages 11-1.   Tom attended St. Ann’s grade school in Lindenwald, and stayed active being an altar boy, a choir member and for a brief time, taking piano lessons from the nun who was the music teacher.  Tom played basketball for St. Ann’s  and was an exceptional catcher in Little League baseball through high school. Tom was the neighborhood leader, organizing all daily activities for all the kids.  One day it was baseball, the next hide-and-seek.  He learned the “let’s say” rule early on and often employed it to his advantage.   Tom chose to attend St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, graduating in 1966.  He played basketball all four years and was always proud of the fact that in his junior year, St. X went to the state championship.  Although Tom was a bright student, he was routinely “jugged” (detention) for his misbehavior and is probably best remembered by his beloved classmates for some of his antics.  He earned money being an Enquirer paper boy throughout his high school years, working at St. X’s switchboard, and being a camp counselor at Ft. Scott in the summers.

Tom attended Baldwin-Wallace college where he continued his basketball prowess and became a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, staying in touch through the years with his well-loved brothers.  He and Bonnie met September 18, 1966, at the freshman mixer their first night of college, and never looked back.  They got married in Cleveland, OH on August 9, 1969, after their junior year in college and began married life in Berea, OH. Because Tom and Bonnie were both part-time students, they knew there was a real possibility of Tom being drafted if his birthday was picked early in the lottery.  While #18 had always been a special number for them, it didn’t feel that way the evening of December 1, 1969, when Tom’s birthday was picked 18th.  Tom chose to enlist in the Officers’ Candidate Program of the United States Marine Corps, leaving for boot camp in early 1970.  For the next 3 years, Tom and Bonnie lived in Virginia, North Carolina, and California and spent a year apart when Tom was stationed in Okinawa.  Tom was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant in May, 1973.

After the service, Tom and Bonnie moved to Cincinnati, OH, where Tom completed his undergraduate degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati.  He began working for Kenner Toys as he studied law at Salmon P. Chase Law School at night.  He was inducted into the Order of the Curia and graduated second in his class in the spring of 1979.  He practiced civil law for 27 years, enjoying his courtroom trial days the most.  Tom had a keen mind and could argue on either side of any issue.  As the legal landscape changed, Tom decided to switch careers and return to school to earn a teaching degree.  He spent the last 10 years of his work career teaching at Dohn High School, an alternative-to-expulsion school where he was stretched and challenged beyond his comfort zone.  He was always thrilled to reunite with former students and hear about their successes, but certainly disappointed with those he couldn’t reach.

Simultaneous to Tom’s schooling and work, Tom and Bonnie raised their three children: Chris, Carrie, and Tim.  Tom loved being a father and intentionally chose to be very active in his children’s lives, coaching basketball and soccer for each of them, being a Cub Scout leader, and working with each of them on any and every school assignment and project. He worked hard at maintaining a balance between his work and home life.  He also believed in serving his Catholic churches and community, so through the years he gave time and energy in numerous ways: Education Commission, Parish Council, Temporal Affairs, Christ Renews His Parish, Recreation Commission and SAY Soccer Association.  Because of Bonnie’s faith tradition and their regular involvement in two churches, Tom served in numerous capacities at the Presbyterian church through the years as well.

Family continued to be central to Tom as his children married and he became a grandfather.  “Papa,” as he was affectionately called, loved being involved with his grandkids, whether that was attending an athletic event, play, concert, and so on, or just being around them and playing with them.  He loved watching them mature.  He learned his oldest grandchild, Michael had chosen Xavier University shortly before he passed away and his comment was, “This decision makes my heart shine.”

Tom’s faith walk was a life-long one.  As a child he would gather with others and hold Mass.  He was a server throughout his youth and was part of the Gregorian program at the Seminary in the summer before high school.  His faith roots deepened through the years after attending a Christ Renews His Parish in 2001, and even more so after his younger brother Dan’s death in 2018, and with his own health challenges beginning in 2019.

Tom will be greatly missed by his family and friends.  His wit and sense of humor were central to his personality and under a sometimes rough exterior, he had a kind heart.  He believed strongly in staying true to himself, pursuing knowledge, standing up for his beliefs, and respecting all life, from the womb to the tomb.  Through the years, Tom and Bonnie challenged each other with the scripture, “speak the truth in love,” since Tom often erred on the side of too much truth, and Bonnie, too little.  Their 52 years together were an amazing, sometimes challenging, wonderful blessing, thanks to the Lord’s leading and the steadfast love and support of their families and friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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