Thomas Gordon Mehl, 80, of Big Rapids, passed away unexpectedly May 1, 2022, of natural causes, after a life full of love, joy, warmth, humor, music, adventure, curiosity, dedication, creativity and compassion.
He was born January 16, 1942, in Big Rapids, the son of Ernest George (Barney) and Lydia (Klausing) Mehl, and graduated from Big Rapids High School, Ferris State University and Central Michigan University. After a brief career in Advertising, he joined Ferris in the School of Business in which he taught for 40 years. Tom retired from Ferris in 2020, as Professor of Advertising and Integrated Marketing.
Tom loved Ferris both as a student and teacher, citing the cordiality of the faculty and their close involvement with the students. Several hundred of Tom’s students sent messages after his death full of praise for Tom as a teacher, mentor and friend. Many give Tom much credit for their personal success in life. Tom’s students were an extension of his family. Many said he showed exceptional and genuine interest in them, as students and beyond school. Tom often hosted parties for them, met them for lunch, tubed with them down the river, and stayed close, no matter where life took them.
Tom was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Big Rapids. He grew up in a very happy, loving and musical family. Tom was a fun guy, known for his quick wit and smile. He loved riding his bicycle, stargazing, planes, classic cars, all kinds of music, a good beer, his dogs and the Detroit Lions. There was little in which he didn’t find pleasure, which is what made Tom such a delight to be around. He had stories for every occasion.
Tom is survived by his sister Marilyn (Bob) Fulmer; his brother David J. (Diane) Mehl; nieces Kathryn VanDyke Krause, Debra VanDyke Hecker, Nella VanDyke, Janet Mehl, Laurie Mehl Weldon, and Amy Mehl Romines; nephews James and John Fulmer; and numerous grand- nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother James E., sister Patricia Van Dyke (Gordon), and nephews David C. Mehl and Michael Fulmer.
A Celebration of Tom’s life will be held from 2-4 p.m., Sunday, June 12, 2022, at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Thomas G. Mehl Scholarship fund for financially needy students at www.ferris.edugiving. Share a memory or express condolences at mohnkefuneralhome.com.