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.
Thinking of you Sue & your family!!
Sending love and prayers to you and your family!
Nancy, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Sincere condolences to Tom’s family. Tom golfed with our group in Bradenton FL the last several years. He was a valued member of our group and was a great guy.
Always a joy to play a round of golf with. He will be missed by a lot of fellow golfers
We will all miss that wonderful smile of Tom’s. Bill and I hope that there is comfort for you in all the memories of Tom. Condolences to you Nancy and all of Tom’s family. Bill & Mort
Mark and I were so saddened to hear of your loss of Tom. He was a valuable team member at Hastings Manufacturing Company. His intelligence and delightful personality made him a joy to be around. We cannot remember a moment when Tom was not smiling. Our sincere condolences to you all. We are sending prayers for comfort your way. Kathy Johnson
Tom will be greatly missed by his golfing friends in Bradenton. A true gentleman.
I had the pleasure of getting to know and play golf with Tom over the past 6 years. Tom was a man of good cheer and it was always a pleasure to spend time with him. Tom was a good man and a great American.
My condolences to the Sutherland family. Amidst your loss, I hope you find comfort in the many memories of Tom’s well-lived life.
So many memories of fun and being just plain crazy. Jake and Tom along with Gary were quite an act to follow.
They are together again and my heart aches but it also smiles.
My thoughts and prayers are with you Nancy, Scott and Sue and your families.
I know you will cherish your memories together and hopefully that will get you through this very hard time.
Rest In Peace my friend, Tom
I worked with Tom at the cemetery. Enjoyed his company and views on life. Especially his stories about the navy life. Rest in piece my friend!
Words are always so difficult when losing such a wonderful friend. May you Nancy and all of Tom’s family find peace with such a significant loss.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you Nan. Tom was a fun man to be around and it was a joy to have him be part of our lives. God Bless.
Nancy, my thoughts and prayers may they strengthen you during this time. I just learned about Tom’s passing. I enjoyed you and Tom as neighbors on the Thornapple River for many years. God’s continued Blessings be with you.