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Thomas Woodrow Brothers

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Thomas Woodrow Brothers
/ Categories: Obituary

Thomas Woodrow Brothers

January 26, 2018

Service Details

A celebration of Tom's life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 27, 2018 at his home, 25715 M 86, Nottawa, MI 49075.

 

                                   

Obituary Notice

Thomas Woodrow Brothers, Sr. passed away peacefully in his sleep at his beloved home on Sand Lake, surrounded by cherished friends and family on Friday, January 26, 2018. He was 74 years old and lived a full and interesting life of adventure and joy with people he loved dearly.

Born on January 10, 1944 in Sturgis, Michigan to Ishmael C. & Lottie V. (Marshall) Brothers, Tom spent his childhood fostering a love for cooking after conquering a severe bout with tuberculosis at a young age.  He cultivated a strong will, compassion for others and a robust sense of self that served him well throughout his life.

During high school, Tom was recognized as a valuable member of DeMolay International, a fraternal organization whose mission is to uphold the 7 Cardinal Virtues of Filial Love, Reverence for Sacred Things, Courtesy, Comradeship, Fidelity, Cleanness & Patriotism. He was also an active player for the Sturgis High School Trojan football team and enjoyed cruising and racing performance cars. He held his first job at age 14 and dutifully saved to buy his first two cars before graduating high school.

Tom enlisted in the United States Navy in 1965 and served as Electronics Technician and Radar Operator Second Class with the VP-9 squadron stationed at NAS Moffett Field in San Jose, California. He travelled the world proudly serving his country for 4 years.

Following his honorable discharge from the Navy, Tom was employed as a civilian contractor in the San Francisco area. He then returned to Michigan to care for his aging parents and worked as a Purchasing Agent for several area businesses.  He met the love of his life shortly after his return, and married Bernadine Luaine Bocook ("Bernie") on  March 27, 1971 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Two years later, they welcomed his favorite daughter, Teresa Lynn ("Teri"), into the family followed three years later by the birth of their beloved son, Thomas Woodrow, Jr. ("Tommy"). Family passions included time at the lake, fishing, boating, working on vintage cars, cookouts and spending quality time with an extended group of close friends and family.

Tom returned to his passion for cooking and bravely changed careers in the early 80s, instilling in his children the importance of following one's dreams. After honing his craft at a variety of well-known establishments in Southwest Michigan, Tom & Bernie bought and operated their own restaurant in Three Rivers named Fisher Lake Landing where he was best known for making delicious prime rib and seafood dinners.  He also shared his culinary talents at many other area restaurants and clubs.

After the children went on to establish their own lives, Tom & Bernie poured their hearts and souls into renovating an old cottage on Sand Lake in Nottawa. With the help of friends & family, they turned the dilapidated old house into a glorious, warm and magical home where everyone who entered felt loved. Tom found great joy in helping to raise his three grandsons and spent countless hours teaching them to cook, fish, swim and drive while simultaneously instilling the values of kindness, good humor and fiscal responsibility.

In recent years, Tom & Bernie spent several wonderful winters walking the beaches in Mexico Beach, Florida with their two dogs, Koko & Bitsy, collecting seashells and watching aviation at Tyndall Air Force Base. Tom relished his nightly phone calls with his lifelong best friend, Bruce Hayden, to discuss the dinner of each day.

 

 

Tom is predeceased by his parents and his brother Ishmael C. Jr..  He is survived by his wife Bernie of Nottawa, his daughter Teri of Centreville, his son Tom of Kalamazoo and his grandchildren -- Joshua Thomas Brothers of Nottawa, William James Briggs of Kalamazoo and Ryan Stanley Briggs of Kalamazoo -- who all miss him dearly.

                                                                                  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Three Rivers Hospice or The Animal Rescue Fund of St Joseph County in honor of Tom's well-lived life. Envelopes available at Hohner Funeral Home.


James “Jim” Lemuel Bippus of Three Rivers, 85, passed away in his home surrounded by family on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Jim had recently been admitted to Borgess Hospital due to complications related to kidney dialysis. When treatments became unsuccessful he determined he would leave this world on his own terms and in his own way. He was an ordinary man that lived an extraordinary life.

Jim was born in Bucyrus, Ohio on September 14, 1932, the youngest child of the late James and Blanch Bippus. When he was seven, his father died and Jim and his five sisters were then raised alone by Blanch, a resilient and strong woman who devoted her life to serving in the Salvation Army.

Jim enlisted into the United States Army. During his service, he earned The National Service Defense Medal. He was honorably discharged from the Army in September of 1955.

Jim attended Ohio State University taking advantage of the G.I. Bill and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. During a six month internship at Essex Wire in Fort Wayne, Jim met and fell in love with Vera H. Mohre; they married in 1958. Jim became employed full time at Essex and took a transfer to Three Rivers, with Vera, and his now six children in tow.

The Essex position didn’t work out the way Jim had imagined, so he quit. After a few months of soul searching he saw the for rent sign in the closed Standard Service Station on Michigan Avenue. So Jim took the test to become a certified mechanic and passed it easily with no formal training. He and Vera opened the station and people started coming.

In 1987 he purchased what would become the Bippus Shell Station on the corner of 131 and Michigan Avenue. Many in the community came to know him for his trustworthy service in auto repair. But more than that, people admired the Bippus family: Vera at the cash register and their children pumping gas, helping to fix cars, or doing inventory on New Year’s Day. In 1997 the station was renovated and instead of offering car repair, now had a restaurant called Vera’s, another sign of Jim’s great love for his wife. Over the years Jim’s business became a cornerstone of the community: a place people met for coffee or lunch and were greeted with warmth and hospitality.

In 2012 Jim and Vera were voted Three River’s Citizens of the Year by the Lion’s Club for their many contributions to the town. Jim made doughnuts on Sunday mornings for the Immaculate Conception Church, read to children at Andrews School, mentored a young student, participated in the County Infrastructure Committee, collected turtles for the Lion’s Club Turtle Derby, and taught auto shop to adults. With his snow plow he kept the Immaculate Conception Church and the Lion’s Club parking lot plowed for free, and also routinely plowed out driveways for others.

Jim was a great lover of classical music. He enjoyed reading books by Thomas Clancy, John Grisham, and James Patterson. He also was a great fan of The Wall Street Journal. Jim loved to play cards and was part of a monthly poker group that met for over 30 years. He and Vera also played in a weekly bridge group for about the same number of years. Equally remarkable, Jim and Vera hosted weekly Sunday dinners for family members and anyone else that wanted to stop by. New people in town were warmly welcomed to the table.


Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Roberts, age 82, of Three Rivers, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2018 at her home surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Munger, MI. on July 6th, 1935 the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ethel (Orosz) Pless.

Betty has been a long time resident of Three Rivers. She enjoyed quilting and cross stitching and loved to read books and occasionally shop in Shipshewana. Betty’s true love and joy was taking care of her family, especially her grandchildren which she adored.

Mrs. Roberts was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jack Roberts, and one grandson Nathanial Johnson.

She leaves to cherish her loving memory, three children, Jon (Cherie) Roberts, Kippy (Timothy) Waltz, both of Three Rivers, and Kristine Roberts, of Odessa, FL.; one brother, John Pless, of Three Rivers; seven beloved grandchildren, Mitchell Roberts, Daniel Waltz, Jordan and Peyton Roberts, Dacoda Jacobs, Kelly Magee and Meagan Fisher.

Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Roberts, age 82, of Three Rivers, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2018 at her home surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Munger, MI. on July 6th, 1935 the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ethel (Orosz) Pless.

Betty has been a long time resident of Three Rivers. She enjoyed quilting and cross stitching and loved to read books and occasionally shop in Shipshewana. Betty’s true love and joy was taking care of her family, especially her grandchildren which she adored.

Mrs. Roberts was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jack Roberts, and one grandson Nathanial Johnson.

She leaves to cherish her loving memory, three children, Jon (Cherie) Roberts, Kippy (Timothy) Waltz, both of Three Rivers, and Kristine Roberts, of Odessa, FL.; one brother, John Pless, of Three Rivers; seven beloved grandchildren, Mitchell Roberts, Daniel Waltz, Jordan and Peyton Roberts, Dacoda Jacobs, Kelly Magee and Meagan Fisher.

Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Roberts, age 82, of Three Rivers, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2018 at her home surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Munger, MI. on July 6th, 1935 the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ethel (Orosz) Pless.

Betty has been a long time resident of Three Rivers. She enjoyed quilting and cross stitching and loved to read books and occasionally shop in Shipshewana. Betty’s true love and joy was taking care of her family, especially her grandchildren which she adored.

Mrs. Roberts was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jack Roberts, and one grandson Nathanial Johnson.

She leaves to cherish her loving memory, three children, Jon (Cherie) Roberts, Kippy (Timothy) Waltz, both of Three Rivers, and Kristine Roberts, of Odessa, FL.; one brother, John Pless, of Three Rivers; seven beloved grandchildren, Mitchell Roberts, Daniel Waltz, Jordan and Peyton Roberts, Dacoda Jacobs, Kelly Magee and Meagan Fisher.

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5 comments on article "Thomas Woodrow Brothers"

Carol Harshberger

This is the way I always saw Tom, with a big smile on his face! I am so sorry for your loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.


Joey

Sending my prayers and hugs. Missing my coysin already. 😔


Scott Bonner

Still processing the loss of Tom. So very kind, thoughtful, always a warm friendly smile. I will miss him. Praying for you Berni, children and grandchildren.....


Dennis Gandolfo

I am so sorry to hear of Toms Passing. He and I were best friends in the Navy when in VP9 together. We lost contact around May/June area of 1967, just made contact again this last November 27th after 50 years. My prayers are with all his family.


Tom & Sue McGraw

So Sorry Tom Foy Your Loss Of Your Dad. Sending Prayers Your Way

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