Thomas Edward Orzel

ESCANABA – Thomas Edward Orzel, 84, of 5076 Danforth Road, Escanaba, passed away Wednesday morning, Aug. 7, 2013, at his home with his family by his side.

Thomas was born July 10, 1929, in Chicago, Ill., the oldest of five children born to Ben and Anna (Sape) Orzel. He was raised in the LaBranche/ Perronville area where he attended elementary school and Harris High School.

He spent time peeling posts before moving to Detroit and working for the Hudson Motor Company. He eventually returned to Perronville and worked for the Roger Stebins Sawmill before serving in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. Upon his honorable discharge as a master sergeant he returned to the LaBranche area until he moved to Escanaba in 1953. He worked various jobs that included the House of Ludington and driving delivery truck for the Northland Bakery. In 1960, Tom went to work for the Mead Paper Corporation and remained there until he retired as shift engineer in the boilerhouse in 1990. He married Bernice Nelson, “the love of his life” in 1962. She preceded him in death.

He enjoyed spending time with his family, hunting, gardening, woodworking, going to camp and doing construction jobs on the side.

Tom is survived by daughter, Debbie (Ray) Sheldon of Escanaba and her family, Sherri (Dale) Palequinn, Lee (Kara) DeGrand, Dena (Brian) Peterson, Catherine Sheldon, Geoff (Christy) Sheldon; daughter, Nancy (Tom) Couchene of Escanaba and her family, Jayme (Karen) Couchene and Jodi (Evan) Tesch; son, Arnold (Patty) Orzel of Strasburg, Va., and his family, Travis Orzel, Amy Orzel, Melissa (Garret) Manning and Josh McCoy; son, Michael (Jolene) Tuyls of Perronville and his family, Josh, Ashleigh, Meaghan and Hannah; son, Ben (Sheila) Orzel of Hancock and his son, Thomas Orzel; son, Rodger (Donna) Orzel of Escanaba and his family, Allison, Dalton and Vincent; son, Joseph Orzel of Escanaba and his son, Tyler; 16 great-grandchildren, Nicholas, Clayton, William, Sarah, Briana, Gabrielle, Jacob, Thomas, Charles, Alexis, Winter, Heaven, Raven, Diliala, Violet and Liam; a sister, Kathleen Raminger of Escanaba; sisters-in-law, Karen Orzel and Sandy Dion and numerous nieces and nephews.

Including his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by infant twin daughters, Mary and Marie; two brothers, Kenneth and James; and a sister, Helen Rickel.

The family will receive friends on Sunday, Aug. 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Escanaba. Military honors will be presented at 3:30 p.m. by the Delta County Veterans Council. Funeral services celebrating the life of Thomas Orzel will be at 4 p.m. at the church with Rev. Chris Johnson officiating.

A luncheon will be served following the services in the fellowship hall. He will be laid to rest in the Gardens of Rest Cemetery.

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