Thomas Earl Hoke, 66
A beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Thomas Earl Hoke, 66, of South Haven, passed away Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at his home. He was born March 21, 1951, to Jack and Dorothy (Anderson) Hoke in Plainwell.
A lifelong learner, Tom graduated from Hastings High School in 1969 and would go on to earn his bachelor's degree from Alma College in 1974, Master's Degree in Education from Michigan State University in 1975, and Educational Specialist degree from Western Michigan University in 1985.
Tom married Sheryl Ann Esterly on Aug. 21, 1976, in Jackson.
Tom came from a long, celebrated line of teachers and educators. He taught middle school and elementary school for Manistee Public Schools, then became the principal for Bloomingdale Middle School. He then went on to serve as the superintendent for Bloomingdale Public Schools for close to 20 years.
A dedicated and skilled educator, Tom was passionate about raising up generations of students and caring for their families. He believed in building up his colleagues and united everyone around him in striving for excellence in their work.
A lover of nature, Tom enjoyed fishing, gardening and spending time outdoors. He loved being close to Lake Michigan and enjoyed many summers with his family on its shores.
In his younger years, Tom was a competitive athlete, and early in his career, served as a varsity wrestling and football coach. Throughout his life he enjoyed watching college basketball and football, especially MSU.
Tom found his greatest joy in his family and his legacy lies in his wife, children, and granddaughter. He cherished time spent with them, including shared meals, holiday celebrations, memorable travel adventures, and lots of laughter as Tom had a very unique and memorable sense of humor. His faith in God was also a cornerstone for his life and he was a member of Hope Reformed Church in South Haven.
Tom's competitive drive, persistence, and stubborn positivity lead him to persevere through many difficult life challenges, which he met with courage and hope.
Tom is survived by his loving, nurturing wife of 40 years, Sheryl Hoke; treasured children, Ryan (Jacqui) Hoke, Janna (Charlie) Hoke and Jordan Hoke; beloved granddaughter Imogen Hoke; caring brothers, Stephen (Kitty) Hoke and Jeff Hoke; and mother-in-law, Mae Esterly.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Dorothy of Hastings; his father-in-law Fredrick Esterly and his brother-in-law Steven Esterly both of Jackson.
Visitation will be Thursday, May 4, from 3 to 4 p.m. at Hope Reformed Church in South Haven. Funeral services will follow visitation at 4 p.m. at the church with Pastor Steve Smallegan officiating.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Tom's memory to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, http://pulmonaryfibrosis.donorpages.com/Tribute/TomHoke. Kindly share your thoughts and memories on the family's online guestbook at www.FilbrandtFFH.com.
Arrangements are being provided by the Filbrandt Family Funeral Home of South Haven.