Thomas A. Spiess, 69, of Fayette, passed away Friday, March 16, 2018, at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was born May 7, 1948 to George and Marjorie (Sager) Spiess in Wauseon, Ohio. Tom married Cherlynn (Cherrie) Grisier on December 28, 1968 in Wauseon.
Tom graduated high school from Delta, class of 1966. He was granted a bachelor’s degree in Comprehensive Art from Defiance College in 1970 and a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Siena Heights College in 1975. He shared his many artistic skills with the youth of Fayette by serving as the art teacher at Gorham Fayette Schools for 30 years. There he founded and led the Art Club and the golf team. He retired from teaching in 2000. Not ready to completely embrace retirement, Tom served as the Village of Fayette administrator for six years.
Tom was a passionate community servant and leader. He was a member of the Disciples of Christ Church in Fayette where he taught Sunday school and was an elder and board president. He served on the Ohio Arts Council; was a founder and executive director of the Fayette Community Fine Arts Council; was instrumental in acquiring and restoring the Fayette Opera House; was a Jennings Scholar; served as Chairman of the Fulton County United Way; was president of the Gorham Fayette Teachers’ Association; president of the Fulton County Community Improvement Corporation, and was a member of the Fayette Chamber of Commerce. Tom’s dedication and service was recognized when he was named Fayette’s Citizen of the Year, as well as when he received a Defiance College Alumni Achievement Award.
Local history was also a passion of Tom’s. He hosted Civil War reenactments in his own backyard. Tom loved experiencing activities like this with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Tom is survived by his wife, Cherrie; his children, Matthew (Joy) of Napoleon, Mark (Julie) of Toledo, and Elizabeth (Grant) of Wauseon; eight grandchildren, Kathryn (Michael), Lauryn, Alayna, Jacob, Elizabeth, Jack, Nathaniel and Lacotus; One brother, James (Dee) Spiess of Wauseon; father in-law and mother in-law, Melvin (Melva) Grisier.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Jon Paul. With the help of family and friends, Tom founded and ran the Jon P. Spiess Memorial Golf Tournament in his memory.
The family will receive friends for a visitation at the Eagle Funeral Home in Fayette on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 from 3:00 till 8:00 p.m. The funeral service for Tom will be Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at Disciples of Christ Church in Fayette. Burial will follow at Zion Methodist Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks those who knew and cared for Tom to perform a thoughtful act of community service. Monetary donations can be given to the Jon Paul Spiess Endowment at Defiance College or the Fayette Community Fine Arts Council. Friends can share memories and words of comfort with the family online at www.eaglefuneralhomes.com.