Hayes M. Tomlinson passed away on Nov. 9, 2017 in Traverse City at the age of 92. He was born on Feb. 16, 1925 to the late Arthur and Anna (Kraft) Tomlinson in Detroit.
After his father retired they moved to Buckley, where he attended Buckley schools. Later he went to trade school in Detroit and was drafted into the U.S. Army. Hayes was a Sherman Tank Commander until the end of the World War II. He then continued to serve his country as a Japanese POW camp guard in the Philippines.
After being honorably discharged from the Army he moved to Traverse City and married Elaine Valleau. Together they had five sons that they raised in the home he built mortgage free.
Hayes became a machinist employed with Sheffer Collet Company for 35 years and also held a second job for many years at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens. He built the chapel that is in the cemetery as well as the stone work around many of the memorials.
When his marriage ended with Elaine, he met Frances Llewellyn and they were together for 35 years. Most recently he had liked to visit his lifelong friend, Pat Nelson, at her nursing home until she passed away earlier this year.
Hayes liked to be around people and missed few events at the Cherry Festival. He enjoyed boating and for many years kept his boat at the city marina. He also loved going to garage sales later in life until he ran out of places to store his prized collections.
Hayes was a collector of model trains and a member of Northern Michigan RailRoad Club for many years. He was a member of American Legion Post 35 and also a life member of Cherryland VFW Post 2780, where he rarely missed the Friday night dinners.
Hayes is survived by four sons, Larry (Rhonda) Tomlinson, Bill (Cindy) Tomlinson, Jeff Tomlinson and Steve (Hope) Tomlinson, all residing in the Grand Traverse area. Also surviving are grandchildren, Libby (Ed Reynolds) Tomlinson, Andrew (Lisa) Tomlinson, Jacob (Amanda) Tomlinson and Matthew Tomlinson; as well as two great-grandchildren, Sam Reynolds and Linnaea Tomlinson.
He was preceded in death by his parents, all of his five siblings; and a young son, James "Jimmy" Tomlinson.
The family would like to give a special thank you to Michelle for the loving care she gave in his home for many years. The family also wishes to express their gratefulness to the Meals on Wheels drivers. Hayes looked forward to their daily conversations. In addition, the family would like to thank the staff at French Manor South for their care.
Friends are welcome to visit with Hayes' family on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 305 Sixth St., Traverse City. Hayes' funeral will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, with visitation one hour prior, at the First Church of The Nazarene, 1023 S. Division, Traverse City. Pastor Don Meiner will officiate. Burial will follow in Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens. Military honors will be conducted under the auspices of Cherryland VFW Post 2780 and American Legion Post 35.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial donation to the Cherryland VFW Post 2780 or Meals on Wheels of Traverse City.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories with Hayes' family at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on November 12, 2017