Thomas George Spas was born in Monroe, Michigan, on July 15, 1954. He was one of two beautiful children born to George and Louise (Marenchin) Spas. Tom was a source of immense pride for his parents. Tom attended Monroe Catholic Central High School, graduating with the class of 1972. He continued his education at Monroe County Community College, obtaining his associate degree in 1974. He declined a playing contract with Detroit Tigers Baseball, opting instead to pursue his vocation as an educator. Tom enrolled at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, earning a bachelor's degree in 1976 and his master’s degree in 1983.
On August 4, 1979, Tom and Alice Glinz joyfully exchanged vows at Trinity Episcopal Church in Monroe, embarking on a journey of love and companionship. They lovingly raised three remarkable children, creating a beautiful family together. Tom’s life revolved around education and sports. He began his teaching tenure in 1976 at Monroe St. John Grade School, where he taught seventh and eighth grade, coached volleyball and softball, and was the program director for the Monroe Family YMCA. After two years of teaching grade school, he returned to his alma mater, Monroe Catholic Central, and St. Mary Academy.
With an impressive career spanning various roles and responsibilities, Tom's journey as an athletic director showcases his exceptional dedication and expertise. He embarked on this path by serving as the Athletic Director at Monroe Catholic Central, where he excelled in this role and shared his extensive knowledge as a teacher in English, Physical Education, and Health.
In addition, his coaching prowess extended to football, basketball, baseball, and track & field.
Tom's impact went beyond the athletic realm, as he also assumed Attendance Director and Locker Room Club moderator positions while actively participating in the SMA Athletic Parent Group. In 1985, he embraced new challenges as the Assistant Principal for Monroe Catholic Central, which continued after the consolidation with St. Mary Academy. During this period, his responsibilities broadened to encompass being Athletic Director and Physical Education and Health teacher, overseeing building and grounds, serving as Transportation Director, acting as the Booster Club Moderator, and coaching tennis, golf, and wrestling.
Tom's devotion and tireless efforts had a profound impact on the athletic department and student-athletes. His meticulous planning, staging, and creation of various community and donor programming were instrumental in securing millions of dollars in contributions to enhance athletic programs and provide valuable opportunities for students. However, his journey didn't end there. He later assumed the role of Executive Director of the Huron League, a position he held until his retirement in 2021. As the league's Executive Director, he oversaw the scheduling of all athletic sporting events, demonstrating exceptional organizational skills and a commitment to promoting athletic excellence throughout the league. Tom's career as an athletic director is a testament to his unwavering dedication and ability to excel in various capacities, leaving an indelible mark on the institutions and communities he served.
Tom was a member of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, where he became a National Certified Athletic Administrator in 1999, the Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation, the Michigan Association of Secondary Principals, and the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
Tom earned several awards throughout his illustrious teaching and administrative career. He was awarded the Monroe Family YMCA Youth Service Award in 1976. In 1999 he attained National Certified Athletic Administrator status and was named the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Athletic Director of the Year. He received the 2006 Monroe Rotary Club Service Above Self Award. Tom was inducted into the St. Mary Catholic Central High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
When Tom found moments of respite from coaching, teaching, and attending sporting events, he took pleasure in working around the yard, nurturing and tending to his beloved garden. In the company of his wife, Alice, he cherished the simple joys of dining out together, sharing meals, and creating cherished memories at various local establishments.
Tom deeply valued his close-knit family, treasured friends, and esteemed colleagues. They were a constant source of inspiration, support, and shared adventures that added immense value and happiness to his life. Tom was passionate about sports, and baseball was closest to his heart. The Detroit Tigers remained his favorite.
Tom, aged 68, peacefully passed away on Sunday, May 14, 2023, in the comfort of his home, cradled in his wife's arms, following a prolonged illness. He was surrounded by his loving family and received care from Hospice of Michigan. His parents preceded his passing.
To cherish his memory, he leaves his wife of forty-three years: Alice Spas of Newport; two daughters: Alice (Kenn) Smith of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and Mary Spas (Matthew Bunkelman) of Monroe; a son: Joseph Spas of Adrian; a sister: Cindy (John) Sieb of Monroe; seven grandchildren: Addison and Reagan Duchesne, Tatum and Harrison Smith, Cameron Spas, and Abigail and Carly Bunkelman; and one great-granddaughter: Wendy Marx.
A Celebration of Tom’s Life will be held from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 27th, at 129 Lounge on Front Street in Monroe, MI.
In place of flowers, the family wishes memorial contributions be made to the Huron League Tom Spas Multi-Sport Scholarship fund at the link listed below: https://gofund.me/79946c96
Tom’s care has been entrusted to Merkle Funeral Service, North Monroe; 2442 North Monroe Street, Monroe, Michigan 48162 (734) 384-5185. Cremation has occurred through the on-site crematory, Covenant Cremation of Erie, Michigan.
Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting www.merklefs.com.