Thomas F. Michalec, 90, of Stow, Ohio, died Thursday December 29, 2022 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Born in Akron, Ohio on June 4, 1932, Tom grew up on North Hill and graduated from North High School in 1950. Following high school, Tom proudly served in the US Army in Korea from 1952 to 1954 as Staff Sergeant, 8th Army I Corps, Engineers. Following his time in the Army, Tom met his wife Carol (nee Hawkins), and the two were married in 1959. At that time Tom worked for Ohio Edison and he and Carol raised their 5 children on North Hill. In 1972, Tom began work as an Automotive Mechanics teacher at the Wayne County Schools Career Center. While teaching, he pursued his bachelor’s degree and graduated from Kent State University in 1986. Tom and Carol loved Wayne County, and after his retirement in 1994, he built a beautiful home on 5 acres in Wooster, Ohio.
Tom worked every square inch of the property, including building a barn which became his workshop for his retirement hobby, woodworking and furniture making. Tom was also a fantastic gardener. Every year the garden got bigger and bigger. He planted apple trees, pressing the apples into cider to give away to friends and family. He made wine from the grapes that he grew, and he was a beekeeper. He shared the harvest with the people he loved.
Tom would help anybody who needed it and enjoyed offering his time and talent. Tom also loved Polka music and listened to it as often as possible. He passed on as many Polish traditions to his kids as they were willing to adopt. Especially the making of his coveted horseradish recipe.
When the Parkinson’s disease made maintaining the Wooster property much more difficult, he returned to the Akron area where he was able to spend more quality time with his friends and family. He lived at Vitalia Senior Residences, where he was able to have a small tomato garden that he enjoyed maintaining. He loved staying busy.
Tom had a strong faith in God. He had an incredible work ethic that influenced not only his children, but so many people who knew him. He was very wise, funny, and loyal, and gave great advice and he will be extremely missed by his loving family. He is survived by his wife of 63 years Carol, children Christopher (Lisa), Shawn (Jacquie), Laura (Martin) McFarland, Mitchell and Edward (fiancé Gina Jones). Grandchildren Molly and Catherine Michalec, Josie and Ruby Michalec, Austin (MacKenna), Casey and Haley McFarland, Katelin (Chad) Thompson, Emily (Chris) Nestelle, and Colin Michalec, Logan, Chloe and Quinn Michalec, and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
Tom is preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Della Michalec, sisters and brothers in-law Dorothy (Thomas) Wyszynski, Gertrude (Francis) Swiokla, Beatrice (Boris) Smirnow, Louise, and Virginia.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 am, Friday at St. Anthony Church, 83 Mosser Place, Akron, Ohio. Burial will follow at 1:30 pm at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, Rittman, Ohio.
Calling hours will be from 4 to 7pm Thursday at Hennessy Funeral Home, (corner of York and Main). 552 N. Main St., Akron, OH 44310.