Thomas Kenneth “Tom” Mahar died after a brief illness at the Covenant Healthcare hospital in Saginaw, Michigan, surrounded by his loved ones, on August 9, 2023, at the age of 87. Tom was born on July 26, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan. He was the son of Kenneth Mahar and Bernice (Gurney) Mahar. Tom married Brenda Sue Overeynder on April 28, 1958, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after meeting at the Colorado Springs USO. The couple then briefly returned to Colorado, while Tom finished his enlistment in the United States Army during the Korean War era, before moving to Detroit, Michigan, for some years where Tom both attended and then taught school at the Detroit Business Institute. The couple then moved to Port Huron where son Timothy Thomas Mahar was born. This was followed by a return move to Detroit where daughter Cynthia Diane Mahar was born, before finally settling in Saginaw Township, Michigan, for good. There he thrived and rose through the ranks at Monitor Sugar Company in Bay City, Michigan, ultimately becoming the Executive Vice President. In that position, he oversaw a large expansion project that created the ‘world’s largest sugar bowl’, which stands as a monument to his work to this day. He also served as the President of Gala Food Processing of Battle Creek during the same timeframe. Tom also served for many years on the board for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, was an advisor to the Bay County Historical Society, and represented business interests in both Lansing and Washington, D.C. Tom was an avid golfer, an inexhaustible reader, and was delighted by the latest gadgets and technology.
Tom was a prolific researcher, writer, and storyteller, becoming a two-time award winning writer at the Southern Writers Conference. He wrote a column that appeared in many local papers around his Florida home, while also conducting a ten-week writer’s seminar for the Destin Florida Snowbird Association. Tom gathered history and artifacts from the sugar industry that are preserved with both the Bay County Historical Society and the Michigan Historical Museum. Aside from many short stories and other tales, Tom was the author of two priceless works that fill an otherwise unfilled gap in Michigan's history. Books titled Sweet Energy: The story of Monitor Sugar Company, and Sweet Legacy: The Complete History of Michigan’s Beet Sugar Industry 1838-2005, the latter to be published August 2023.
Tom is survived by his wife, Brenda; son, Tim Mahar; daughter, Cindy (Andrew) Kidd; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his siblings and parents.
A loving husband and father, deeply inquisitive with a love for travel and exploration, the greatest gifts he bestowed upon his family were the many long and interesting travels they embarked upon together. He will be missed by the countless people whose lives he touched in ways he never knew.
A memorial service will be announced in the coming days. RIP