Merlin Thomas Sutherland, age 86 of Grand Rapids, went to be with our Lord on May 10, 2021. Tom was one of seven children growing up in Woodbury, MI. After graduating Woodland HS in 1953, he proudly served in the United States Navy on the USS Midway from October 1955-September 1960 as an Electrician’s Mate second class. Tom worked at Hastings Manufacturing for over 40 years, as a purchasing agent and maintenance supervisor. After retiring, he acquired his builders license and started Alto construction company. He worked with area realtors for years to build his business as a “handyman”. Tom most recently worked for Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens and golfed well past his 86th birthday. Throughout his life Tom enjoyed hunting with family, fishing off his dock on the Thornapple River, and working on all of his ongoing projects in his workshop. He was an avid golfer who played in leagues and enjoyed any opportunity to win a dollar or two from his fellow golfers. Tom loved his family, and he took great pride in all of their achievements. He was a father, a mentor, teacher, and simply an inspiration to anyone who knew him. He had a quick sense of humor and he loved to tease and joke around. He will be greatly missed. Tom will be lovingly remembered by his wife Nancy; his children, Scott (Sue) Sutherland, Susan (Michael) Messer, Todd (Carman) Baines, Kelley (Roger) Stranger; and his grandchildren, Sarah Messer, Hannah Messer, Zachary Messer, Dylan Baines, and Tyler Baines. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifton and Mary Sutherland; brothers, Morris, Neil, Robert; and sisters, Madelyn, Marge, and Marilyn. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and Tom’s request, the family will hold a private memorial at a later date. We encourage those who would like to share your condolences or stories with our family to do so at www.gerstfuneralhomes.com Memorial contributions in Tom’s name may be made to Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, Volunteer Office 3000 Monroe Ave. NE. Grand Rapids, MI 49505.