Thomas Gerard Easthope

June 1, 1933February 26, 2021

Our indomitable, irrepressible, irreverent husband, father, uncle, grandfather, friend, Tom Easthope died surrounded by his family and with the same spirit of adventure, sense of humor and kindness he had always shown throughout his life. The beloved youngest of six, he was born with infectious energy and a can-do attitude. His large extended family, and so many more that he adopted as family, were the center of his life. His six children and eight grandchildren from his first marriage to Mary Easthope, and the three additional children and five grandchildren he embraced from his second marriage to Donna Winkelman, each felt like they were his favorite. He was devoted to his beloved wife of 31 years, Donna, and his whole universe of family, including nieces and nephews, friends and acquaintances all over the world.

A first generation American from immigrant parents and a father who fought in WWI, and later for union rights, Tom continued the family tradition of fighting for justice, advocating for the marginalized, and serving his country as an Aviation Cadet during the Korean War.

Curious about the world, and interested in every experience he could have, Tom and Donna traveled to every continent, chartering sailboats to sail the seas, and in his sixties, served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine for two years. Later, Tom got his pilot's license in order to fly, and at 75 decided he wanted to skydive for the first time.

His heart on his sleeve, Tom engaged everyone he met with love and generosity. It was not uncommon for him to make friends at the grocery store, or the boat repair shop, or wherever he might be. He continued many of these friendships, and was always adding more to his giant web of connections, celebrating and supporting so many during both joyful and difficult times.

His professional life was wide-ranging and included administration for Bendix Aerospace in Ann Arbor when they were designing equipment for the Apollo Program. He was an administrator in the Office of Student Services at the University of Michigan for nearly two decades. Later he was a managing partner of a venture capital firm that worked to spur entrepreneurial business development to revitalize the Michigan economy, and later still, he worked as a realtor, helping so many people get into homes.

Tom loved being engaged in the rough and tumble of civic life and was always a strong progressive, advocating for the marginalized and the different. He had strong views about the importance of justice in the world, which he was delighted to share and discuss. Throughout his life, Tom engaged in social justice activism including for civil rights, to end the Vietnam War, and in support of striking farm workers. He stayed engaged and supported political causes throughout his life.

Sports was his love, and he avidly followed the sports careers of his children and grandchildren. Some were better at sports than others but he was quick to support everyone’s efforts, not just on the field. He wanted each to be confident and believed in them, often more than they believed in themselves.

Tom loved Michigan teams, and boating, sailing and fishing. He made stained glass windows. He could Macgyver almost anything, and tried his hand at whatever needed doing, or whatever looked fun. He was forever young in curiosity and love. He was kind until the end. He will be dearly missed.

Funeral arrangements can be found on the Muehlig Funeral Chapel website.


  • Private Family Graveside Service

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021



Thomas Gerard Easthope

have a memory or condolence to add?

Linda Smith

March 4, 2021

Dear Donna, Mary Jo, and Easthope Family,

Please accept our deepest sympathy during your time of bereavement. Whenever we were in the same physical space with Tom, there was nothing but joy, laughter, dignity and respect. Tom had a way of making you feel accepted and special! We will always fondly remember Tom and he will be missed.

Peace and Blessings,
Linda and Harry Smith

Gerald Buchel

March 2, 2021

Tom and l were at U of D together. He was working at the Dean's office . I was a student athlete. I remember him stopping at the baseball field to say hello, talking through the fence. I bought my first car from him , a 52 Plymouth. It was a real rustbucket. I could put my foot thru the floorboard on the drivers side. I loved that car and have many fond memories with it duringin my college years.

Beth Rosengard

March 2, 2021

Dear Donna and family,

After reading this obituary, I am really sorry I never had the opportunity to get to know Tom in what was obviously a fully lived and loved life.

My thoughts are with you all in this difficult time!

Warm regards,

Beth Rosengard

Br Nick Blattner

March 2, 2021

On behalf of the Capuchin brothers I offer my deepest sympathies on the passing of Thomas. It is truly humbling to receive memorial donations in honor of his life. Please be assured of the brother's prayers for the entire Easthope family during this great time of grief. May perpetual light shine upon Thomas.

Christine Easthope

March 2, 2021

Uncle Tom had this special way of really seeing you like no one else I have ever met! I remember when I was recovering at my mom's in 2005 he came to see me. At that point I really wasn't seeing any visitors but that didn't stop him! I felt so unworthy of love and attention because of the way I looked, all helpless and feeling so small. When he came in you wouldn't have known anything was wrong with me! I just saw pure love coming from him. We had just lost our dad the year before and it was like he brought dad with him. That sounds strange as I write that but I felt like I was safe and everything was going to be okay just like how I felt when my dad was here. I just got better and better after that day. I starting standing on my own and soon after I was walking again. I will never forget that day! They say when you pass away it is not so much what you said that people will remember but the way you made them feel. Uncle Tom made everyone feel special and loved. I will miss him and hold him forever in my heart. My deepest condolences to all my cousins and Donna. So much LOVE to you all

Liz McEvily

March 2, 2021

Ian and I hold the Easthope and Freedman families in our hearts.
Tom and I had a special bond as the Irish contingent of the Freedman family. When I married Ian McEvily, our gang and our whiskey drinking both increased.
Tom was so special, and made us feel so special. Of course we knew that he had this effect on everyone he met. We were just lucky to fall into his orbit.
The way that you all honored him today- the words and memories shared- those are the qualities that we all strive to achieve- and Tom did it.

Mitchell Rycus

March 2, 2021

Our dear friend and poker mate, we will miss you. Love ya!

Dick and Gerry Deighton

March 2, 2021

Sending our love and support to all the Easthope family. We have many great memories of lots of parties and fun times with all of you. Tom's great smile and sense of humor stands out when we think of those times. We will always remember him as a great support and loving friend to Fr Pat. We are blessed to have had Tom in our life.

Vitalii Pavlus

March 2, 2021

I was blessed to meet Tom in Ukraine as a teenager. He was the most positive, enthusiastic and young at heart person I have ever known and had a life changing impact on myself and my family!

Every once in a while ready to start another journey I remember Tom standing in our Lutsk apartment with his backpack, a big smile on his face, singing:

We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz!..

You are the great, kind wizard, Tom! Love you and miss you...

Leslie Pope

March 1, 2021

Mr. Tom Easthope was a man who reminded me of Teddy Roosevelt, rugged but tender, idealistic but realistic, energetic yet calm, with an infectious smile and the warmest of hugs. He will truly be missed by so many, and I will always smile when I hear his name mentioned.