Thomas William Almy, age 92, of Lyons, passed away Wednesday, January 16, 2019. He was born November 21, 1926, the son of Vene L. and Mildred E. (Morse) Almy. Thomas was a devoted member of the Portland United Methodist Church. He loved farming, restoring farm equipment, and being in the barn. Thomas also enjoyed deer hunting, playing cards, and eating at Big Boy. Most of all, Thomas enjoyed family gatherings and being with his family.
Thomas retired from General Tire in 1989. He was elected Vice-President of Local 420 United Furniture Workers. Thomas worked closely with Local 420 president Charles Melvin, a good friend and a man he admired. Upon Charles Melvin's retirement from union activities Thomas ran and was elected President of Local 420 UFWA, a position he held for many years. For the next 20 years Thomas helped settle thousands of grievances and negotiate hundreds of local agreements. He took a temporary leave while Local 420 President to accept a position with the International Union that represents several local unions in the western part of Michigan. Upon his return from the International Union assignment, he again ran for Union President and was elected. He held this position until retirement in 1988. Thomas leaves behind a lifetime of hard work and dedication to representing the blue color worker. His loyalty and integrity are unmatched when it comes to the labor movement in Ionia and throughout West Michigan.
He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving during WWII. Thomas had several interesting assignments while in the Navy: one in particular was during his assignment on the USS Concise when they encountered a Typhoon. The first was at Buckner Bay Okinawa, in the July and the second typhoon passed through while assigned to PCER 860 in late October, anchored in a harbor in Japan. Thomas wrote in his memoir, while he was steering the ship during the Typhoon the Commander ordered anchors dropped and the throttle set to half speeds while steering directly into the typhoon. This technique proved to be a safe and stable procedure as the vessel sustained little damage and no sailors were injured.
Preceding Thomas in death are his parents, sister, Doris (Marvin) Bills; brother, Richard (Rosemary) Almy; brothers-in-law, Leslie Parker, Jr., Jerry Bennett; son-in-law, Ross Mast. He is survived by his beloved wife of 70 years, Anna “Jeanie” Almy; children, Pamela Almy-Mast, William (Connie) Almy, Diana Almy, Brian (Monica) Almy, Carol (Keith) Schrauben, and Marsha (Dan Schaffer) Almy; 13 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; sisters, Ruth Bennett and Barb Parker; and several special nieces and nephews.
The family would like to extend their most heartfelt “thank you” to Portland Assisted Living and Memory Center, Great Lakes Hospice, and Portland EMS for the wonderful care they took of Thomas.
The Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Monday, January 21, 2019 at the Portland United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends on Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Lehman Funeral Home, 210 E. Bridge Street, Portland, and also one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at Keefer-Olmstead Cemetery, Lyons. Arrangements are entrusted to Lehman Funeral Homes. Online condolences may be made at www.lehmanfuneralhomes.com.