Cover photo for Thomas R. Forsch's Obituary
Thomas R. Forsch Profile Photo
1938 Thomas 2022

Thomas R. Forsch

November 4, 1938 — November 23, 2022


Thomas “Tom” Raymond Forsch, age 84, died November 23, 2022, after a brief illness at Rose Arbor Hospice in the presence of his loving family. He was born November 4, 1938, in Alpena, Michigan to Raymond Otto Forsch and Jean LeRoy Forsch. Preceding him in death are his parents; Raymond Forsch and Jean (Forsch) Werth, in-laws; Joseph (Georgianna) Storey, brother-in-law; Terry M. Swailes, Sr.

The memorial service will be held at the downtown First Presbyterian Church at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 31, 2022.

Thomas graduated from Alpena High School in 1956.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan in 1960.  While a sophomore on the Sault Ste. Marie campus, Tom met the love of his life, Suzanne Marie Storey.  They were wed on September 5, 1959, in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.  At 17, he joined the Naval Reserve.  After his college graduation, he served in the U. S. Navy from 1960-1962.  While stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, his two sons Randall Thomas and Robert Joseph were born.  After discharge, he worked as a chemical engineer in Borger, Texas doing carbon black research.  Next, the family moved to Red Wing, Minnesota where Tom worked for PPG, as a Plant Superintendent.  While in Minnesota, they expanded their family with Valerie Susan Forsch in 1969.   In 1971, the family would make their final move to Kalamazoo, Michigan where Tom worked for American Cyanamid/Cytec as a Plant Engineer until his retirement in 1995. He earned a CPPE Certificate (Certified Professional Plant Engineer) in 1987.

Tom was a devoted member of the First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan for 50 years.  Tom exemplified a lifetime of faith and cheerful service to others.   He was a gentle man with an easy smile. He could sing all the “old hymns” from memory. He served as a Trustee, an Elder, and a Deacon.  He served in various positions over the years including, Chairman on the Facilities Committee.  His favorite retirement service at the church was on “Wally’s Gang”.  Tom’s final community service at the church was tutoring adult students in reading through the Kalamazoo Literacy Council. Thomas loved learning and using his life experience to help others.  He will be missed by more people than one will ever imagine.

Tom also volunteered in the Kalamazoo community. He was a Boy Scout and became a committee member when his sons were part of Troop 234.  He helped to create a local Native American Educational Program that supported Native American students in the public schools.

After retirement, Suzanne and Thomas traveled often to Mexico for her research.  Other travel destinations included: Canada, Europe, Hawaii, and all over the United States.   He enjoyed the wonders of the UP.  He especially enjoyed the trips to the family cabin at Whitefish Bay, where he walked the Lake Superior beach, the surrounding woods, picked wild blueberries and chanterelles with the family. He also enjoyed taking care of their Kalamazoo home, gardens and feeding the wild birds.

When Parkinson’s intruded into his life, he met the challenges “head on”.  He participated in Parkinson’s Big Exercise at the YMCA, volunteered for a PhD study, did fundraising, and worked with the Michael J. Fox Foundation research project.  Tom did not let Parkinson’s bring him down.  He always had a positive attitude!  He conveyed strength throughout his health challenges and life in general.

Tom is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Suzanne Forsch.  Also surviving are his three children;   Randall (Christine) Forsch, Robert (Terrie) Forsch, Valerie (Mick Noren) Forsch;  cherished grandchildren, Margaux (Garrett Felber) Forsch and their son Julian, Kiefer (Beverly French) Forsch, Nick (Kim McCabe) Forsch, Katelyn Forsch, and Sara Forsch; sister-in-law, Priscilla Swailes; nephews, Michael (Marianne) Swailes, Steven (Maria) Swailes, Marty (Rachel) Swailes; niece, Kristie Swailes;  grand nephews and nieces, Brianne Swailes, Joseph (Megan, Bennett, and Lennon) Swailes, Kyle Swailes, Abbie Williamson, Aaron Williamson; cousins, Hans Forsch (California) and various cousins from Michigan and Indiana.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to First Presbyterian Church (Celebrate the Vision Project), The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 477, New York, NY 10163-4777) or a charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services 3926 S. 9th St. Kalamazoo, MI 49009. To leave an online condolence, please visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas R. Forsch, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life - Memorial Service

Saturday, December 31, 2022

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church - Kalamazoo

321 West South Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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