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Thomas William Chettleburgh



Memorial contributions may be made to:

Fountain Street Church

24 Fountain St NE

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

1471 E. 12 Mile Rd

Madison Heights, MI 48071

Thomas William Chettleburgh, 81 of Grand Rapids, Michigan died peacefully in his residence on October 31, 2018.  Tom was born on July 29, 1937, to the late Dorothy Mae (Fowler) and Russell William Commerce Township, Michigan. He graduated from Walled Lake High School in 1955 and served in the US Armed Forces from 1956 through 1959. He developed a love for land surveying while stationed in Germany. In 1963, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan. On June 27, 1959, Tom married his soulmate Arlene Petra Sarya in Walled Lake Baptist Church and they enjoyed 59 years of marriage together. In addition to his wife Arlene, he is also survived by daughter, Shari (Richard) Freeman of Alpharetta, Georgia; two sons, Daniel (Jeannie) Chettleburgh of Granger, Indiana and Thomas (Kathy Sargeant) Chettleburgh of Ann Arbor, Michigan; six grandchildren, Nicholas (Katy), Michael (Hannah Bilotta, fiancé), Steven, William, Lia and Lexi Chettleburgh; his brother Robert (Dolores) Chettleburgh of Rockford, Michigan; two sisters, Ruth Reindel of Denver, Colorado and Alice (Bob) Hooker of Stuart, Florida; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Tom worked as a civil engineer for Williams and Works.  In 1981, he returned to his passion of land surveying and started Chettleburgh and Associates. He quickly earned the respect and trust of his clients, associates and business partners. Tom was an active member of the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors. Tom adored Arlene and gave her his unconditional love for 60 years. He fully supported her social work career and praised her accomplishments. He greeted people with a hug and could strike up a conversation with anyone. As he battled cancer this past year, he grew closer to his wife, children, grandchildren and friends. He brought joy and laughter to everyone he met. Tom loved Fountain Street Church, his weekly golf group, downhill skiing, watching the Detroit Tigers and Lions and fishing at Houghton Lake. For over 40 years, he shared the story of catching a prize-winning small mouth bass on a cane pole. He was known for being incredibly generous with his time, his talents and resources. Giving silver dollar coins to the children on Halloween brought him great joy. Tom’s family would like to extend special thanks to the physicians and staff at Lemmen-Holton for providing exceptional care, Gilda’s Club and the Befriender Ministers from Fountain Street Church. Visitation for Tom will be 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM on Sunday, November 4 at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids.  A memorial service will be held at 11 AM on Monday, November 5 at Fountain Street Church. Memorial contributions may be made to Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 1471 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071.

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5 Responses

  1. Tom and Arlene were like an Uncle and Aunt to me as my dad and his cousin Arlene were like siblings. Arlene was especially helpful as we navigated adoption. I can’t imagine a Sarya family gathering without Tom’s ever present grin. I hope that knowing that others are mourning with you helps just a little bit as we say good bye to Tom.

  2. What a pleasure to know and love this wonderful man and his loving wife. When he talked to you, one felt that you were the only one in the room. He truly
    loved his wife, our surveying profession, and all those he met.
    What a loss ! I will never forget him and his kindness.

  3. The Chettleburghs are not just family, but friends, and lifetime role models. We love you and will continue to support your family. Uncle Tom was such a cheerful and fun uncle. He loved to offer me my favorite drink, a Manhattan, of which he always made stronger than anyone I ever knew. He was admired for his intelligence and witt! I am so happy that I was able to spend time with him at Houghton Lake this past summer. He often spoke of the day he held me at my baptism with joy and pride. I loved him dearly and he will be missed. With all my love, Denise Garon-Huey

  4. So sorry to hear about this, Tom! He sounds like he was a fantastic human being.

  5. So sorry to hear about Tom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Jim and Ruth Ann king

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