Tom’s life began December 10, 1940, in Lorain, Ohio. As a young adult a new job brought him to Southwest Michigan where he made Watervliet his home. Tom worked as a plumber until his retirement from Leco Corporation. He loved his community of Watervliet. Tom was a permanent fixture at Hays Park for many years, he was either coaching or watching his children and grandchildren playing baseball and softball. If he wasn’t at Hays Park you could find him catching a game in Panther Stadium or somewhere on Panther Grounds. Tom was a giver, he donated to anyone or any organization he could find to help from the random person on the street to Post Prom, Recreational Sports, or even the Miss Watervliet Organization just to name a few.
Tom’s greatest joy came in spending time with his family which includes: four sons Tommy (Joyce) VanNiel, Randy (Pam) VanNiel, Ryan (Jen) VanNiel, and Cory (Gloria) VanNiel; eight grandchildren Justin, Taylor, Blake, Kade, Tanner, Sophia, Karol, and Sophia; and close friends who were always checking on him Michell Edmonds and Rex and Raelene Stickney.
Tom died Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at home. His brother George VanNiel precedes Tom in death. Hutchins Funeral Home is assisting Tom’s family with cremation. You may visit with Tom’s family Saturday, August 15, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at Hutchins Funeral Home in Watervliet. Memorials may be made in Tom’s name to Humane Society of Southwest Michigan. You are invited to leave a message of comfort for Tom’s family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas VanNiel, please visit our floral store.
Humane Society of Southwest Michigan
5400 Niles Road, St. Joseph MI 49085