Tribute to Charles Toms

Charles Alexander Toms July 15, 1955 – April 1, 2020

It’s ironic that this perpetual prankster left us on April 1st. I thought we would have way more time together but we sure packed a lot into these years. He was larger than life. You couldn’t go ANYWHERE without running into someone that knew him.

Chuck was a Detroit police officer, a tower of a man! We were safe with him and I genuinely felt that if he was there, nothing bad would ever happen to us. A particular instance comes to mind when I ponder what a badass he really was ... years back some teenagers were breaking into our garage. He ran after them (freaking us all out) and returned literally carrying two of them like suitcases. As a young child my mind was completely blown. To me, he was a hero. One look at him indicated intimidation, yet children and animals gravitated towards him. He had a squishy soft side and was intensely hands on. He coached our teams and went to every single one of our games (that he didn’t coach). He had our backs. ALWAYS. He was even a lunch lady at one point, which was a sight to behold.

One of my all-time favorite stories involves the time he tried to teach me how to drive a stick shift. I was 16 and he took me to a local Detroit mall. I could not seem to get past this one incline. We’d have to get out, change seats, get past and switch off. There was a group hanging out at this particular spot heckling us each time we passed by. At one point they decided to throw handfuls off dirt through our open windows hitting my dad directly in the eye, a high-speed chase ensued. I had never imagined a 1981 Sonoma pickup truck could go 110 mph (that’s what it felt like). He chased them down and they were apprehended with the help of mall security lol. It was exhilarating and confirmed what I had already known.

The only thing more impressive was his love for his family, especially his grandchildren. They all knew that if they wanted something and mom and dad said no, papa would get it for them without hesitation. He was the treat master. He always had something for the kids, oftentimes stashing candy up their sleeves and in their pockets. While Sara has two boys, I had no intention of having children. He was in my ear constantly urging me to give him a granddaughter. He was elated when my daughter blew two weeks past her due date to be born on HIS birthday!

He loved music and was the “DJ” wherever we were at. He had killer dance moves and was amazing at knowing random facts. I can’t count how many times I called him with a trivia question. He ALWAYS knew the answer! He was funnier than hell and had a knack for mixing up words. My sister and I were in stitches when he tried telling us how much he liked the band “effervescence” (Evanescence). He had more shoes and clothes than the three of us girls put together and wouldn’t so much as walk to the mailbox without showering first. His propensity toward B-rated movies and TV shows made for an entertaining childhood. He loved fishing, the Rockies, food, and fun. He was the life of the party and you best believe that later this summer we are eating coney dogs and drinking Crown XO to celebrate this amazing man!

He is survived by Laraine, his wife of 40 years, his two daughters-Melissa (Brad) and Sara (Tom), three grandchildren, Kaleb, Charlie and Remy, his father Charles Sr., sisters, Sherri, Karen, Phyllis and Christine, and brother, Michael. He is also survived by several cousins, friends, nieces, and nephews.

  • Alumni News
  • Obituary