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Harry J Will Funeral Homes

37000 W Six Mile Road, Livonia, MI

OBITUARY

Robert Gerald Thom

August 14, 1928November 27, 2019
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Robert Gerald Thom, age 91 of Novi, formely of Northville, passed away November 27, 2019. Beloved husband of 64 years to Shirley Mae (Colenso). Dearest father of Kathy (Carl) Galietti of fountain Hills, AZ and Jerry (Chris) of Livonia, MI. Loving grandfather of Tony (Jennifer) Galietti, Brian (Angie) Galietti, Kyle (Candice) Thom and Brady Thom. Also survived by 4 great grandsons Matteo, Fiorenzo, Dante and Luca.

Robert (Bob) Thom was born in Detroit on August 14, 1928. He attended Custer Grade school before graduating from Cass Tech High School in Detroit. He then graduated from the University of Detroit with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1951. Following graduation in September 1951, Bob was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War. Basic training at Fort Knox was followed by placement to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Denver Colorado. He designed and developed manufacturing processes for the production of white phosphorus fire grenades and various poisonous gases. After two years of service, Bob was employed by Ferguson Tractor Company with design and development of tractor transmissions and final drives. Ford Motor Company hired him in 1955. He was responsible for the design and development of the Ford manual transaxle (MTX) designed in the United States and manufactured in Japan (to launch the Ford Escort program). He retired from Ford Motor Company in 1992 after 38 years.

Bob married Shirley Colenso in April, 1955 soon after hiring in at Ford Motor Company. They have two children, four grandsons, and 4 great-grandsons. One of his greatest loves was following all of his grandsons’ athletic activities. His hobbies included golf, genealogy, classical music, woodworking and travel. When he wasn’t occupied with these activities you could find him in the backyard tending to his flower gardens from sun up until sundown. Before moving to Fox Run Novi in 2015, Bob and Shirley lived in Northville for 35 years and previously in Redford Township for 24 years.

Visitation Friday, December 6th from 2-8pm. Funeral service Saturday, December 7th at 11am (in state 10am) at Harry J Will Funeral Home in Livonia. Private burial at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Alzheimer's Association or St. Matthews United Methodist Church are appreciated. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at the online guestbook for the Thom family.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, December 6, 2019
  • Funeral In State Saturday, December 7, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, December 7, 2019

Memories

Robert Gerald Thom

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HANK NICKOL

December 7, 2019

I KNEW BOB AS AN ASSOCIATE AT FORD MOTOR . HE WAS A VERY COMPETENT ENGINEER , VERY PROFESSIONAL . HE WAS THE COMPANY EXPERT ON MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS AND WAS A KEY ENGINEER IN DEVELOPING SMALL CARS IN NORTH AMERICA . ALSO A LOYAL ALUMNUS OF THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE .

HANK NICKOL

Ron Robertson

December 2, 2019

I remember Bob and my dad (Bill Robertson) arguing like the two Scottsmen they were, about who was taller. Bob was always a good guy and had a great dry sense of humour.
I did have a chance to work with him for a short while.
RIP Bob

FROM THE FAMILY

Army Softball - 1953

FROM THE FAMILY

Engagement - 1954

FROM THE FAMILY

with Jerry - Hawaii - 1972

FROM THE FAMILY

with Kathy - 1956

FROM THE FAMILY

with Jerry - 1959

FROM THE FAMILY

with Jerry & Kathy - 1966

FROM THE FAMILY

Addressing the Haggis - Burns supper - Jan 2015

FROM THE FAMILY

Army buddies - 1953

FROM THE FAMILY

Army Softball - 1953

FROM THE FAMILY

Engagement - 1954

FROM THE FAMILY

with Jerry - Hawaii - 1972

FROM THE FAMILY

with Kathy - 1956

FROM THE FAMILY

with Jerry - 1959

FROM THE FAMILY

with Jerry & Kathy - 1966

FROM THE FAMILY

Addressing the Haggis - Burns supper - Jan 2015

FROM THE FAMILY

Army buddies - 1953

FROM THE FAMILY

Dating Shirley - 1953

FROM THE FAMILY

Parents John & Lena Thom - 1954