L'ANSE - Thomas A. Moilanen, 67, formerly of L'Anse, passed away April 13, 2012, at home in Lake Charles, La., surrounded by his family, after a five-year battle with renal cell carcinoma.
Tom was born Sept. 3, 1944, to Ed and Elsie (Karkanen) Moilanen of L'Anse at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hancock.
He graduated from L'Anse High School in 1962. He played football, basketball, sang in the chorus and played a mean trombone in the band.
He was a member of serveral extra-curricular musical organizations such as a 15-piece "big band" and a boys' vocal double quartet that won first place in U.P. competition.
He was a long-time member of the "Golden Eagles" Drum & Bugle Corps, when that group won two Michigan State championships and played during half-time of a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau field.
He attended Northern Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University and graduated from Wayne State University.
Tom retired as president of Four Seasons Equipment Company in Louisiana after a long and successful career in the heavy equipment industry. He had a life-long fascination with airplanes and boats, owning a Lake amphibian plane which he delighted in landing on L'Anse Bay.
He and Sharon lived for several years on Contraband Bayou in Lake Charles on a houseboat. He was a member and past president of Lake Charles Power Squadron.
Tom was an honest and direct straight-shooter, qualities he inherited from his late father, who built homes for people on a handshake. Generous, compassionate and giving were hallmarks of his character, as well as his love of a good joke. His "crocodile smile" will be remembered by all that knew him.
Of all the positions Tom held in his career, his love and devotion to his grandchidren was the job he loved most.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon (Maxon) Moilanen of Lake Charles; sons, Todd (Jennifer) of Beverly Hills, Mich. and Karl (Patty) of Plymouth, Mich.; six grandchildren, Chase, Connor, Kyle, Taylor, Kaitlyn and Carson; step-children, Jack (Mindy) Moxon of Harrisburg, Ore., Amye Griffin of Mt. Clemens, Mich. and Kathy (Kit) Miller of Lakeland, Fla.; Sharon's six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; his sister, Maija (Jay) Rothenberg of Chicago; brother, Rik Moilanen of L'Anse; a niece, Rowan Balagot of Austin, Texas; and two nephews, Jordan Balagot of Los Angeles and Dan Nestel of Salt Lake City.
A celebration of Tom's life will be held in L'Anse on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Visitation at Reid Funeral Service and Chapel will begin at 9:30 a.m. for family and 10 a.m. for friends. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. with Rev. Greg Mileski of United Lutheran Church to officiate. All are welcome to share their stories and memories of their lives with Tom.
The service will be followed by a buffet luncheon at noon and interment in L'Anse Evergreen Cemetery at 3 p.m.