Thomas Andrew Carlin of Brandon, FL died on October 10, 2022. After battling the progressive complications due to poor health, Tom was ready to move on to the next chapter in hopes of enjoying being bellied up to a heavenly bar. He was 80.
Born in Chicago on May 16,1942, Tom grew up in the city and excelled at baseball. He advanced to the minor league and played catcher in the Dodger’s organization. Tom left baseball to enlist in the Navy, and he served mostly in the Western Pacific. This experience sparked Tom’s interest in cooking, and he learned first-hand to prepare authentic Chinese cuisine which his family greatly enjoyed through the decades. As a young veteran with a brilliant mind, Tom entered UCLA and upon earning a Bachelor’s degree in business, his professors advanced him directly to a Doctorate-level program. He left the university setting just shy of completing his PhD requirements; even so, Tom was the smartest person in just about any room. Tom married Kim Heuszel, and they welcomed their daughter Kellie. Years later, Tom married Carlene Hotz and subsequently adopted her four young children. Tom and Carlene blended their families as many do, but Tom also manifested his character, love, discipline, and drive for excellence in the way he rose up to be the father of Carlene’s children. Carlene instructed him in golf, and that new hobby quickly shifted to a shared passion and pastime. Tom and Carlene spent many years involved with golf, playing the local courses, entering and/or running tournaments, traveling with groups, and volunteering for charity events. After the tragedy of their oldest son Carl being killed by a drunk driver, Tom and Carlene turned pain and grief into purpose and positivity. They founded the Carl Carlin MADD Memorial Golf Tournament, and their efforts raised well over $100,000 for the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Also, in the aftermath of Carl’s death, Tom felt compelled to follow his long-time entrepreneurial dream of starting his own business. Tom represented commercial roofing manufacturers, and with his knowledge, work ethic, and tenacity, Florida roofing manufacturers recognized him as a state-wide subject matter expert. Upon closing the doors of his business and retiring, Tom stayed active with friend social circles, gourmet clubs and the occasional golf round, but he especially enjoyed reading and engaging with his growing grandchildren. He liked to challenge them with worldly, historic, and geo-political conversations…and slip them a few bucks, too! Later as teens and college students, the grandkids knew Papa would make time for a lunch meet-up, offer wisdom, and extend encouragement for the road ahead.
Tom was preceded in death by his love and wife Carlene and son Carl Joseph. He is survived by two daughters Kellie and Melissa and two sons, Chris and Curtis. Tom has six grandchildren: Tannis, Alicia, Jonathon, Sammie, John, and Nicholas, as well as three great-granddaughters: Mary Catherine, Charlotte, and Amelia. The immediate family will gather for a private remembrance over Thanksgiving weekend. In lieu of flowers, the Carlin family requests that you honor Tom by making a contribution to your local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.