Thomas Herald Monroe, 70 years of age, passed away Saturday March 29, 2014 at University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, after a month long illness, with his beloved wife, children, and pastor at his side. Tom was born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 30, 1943, the son of the late Herald B. and Miriam (Miller) Monroe. He grew up in Lakewood, Ohio and graduated from Lakewood High School in 1961. He joined the U.S. Army in 1963 during the Viet Nam Era and served on active duty until 1966, receiving an honorable discharge after three additional years on inactive reserve.
While stationed in Korea for a year, he was saddened to observe that some of his fellow soldiers received no mail from home. The memory of that inspired his retirement "hobby" of gathering paperback books and sending them to our deployed troops. In the past 6 years he had sent over 70,000 books, some donated but mostly purchased from library book sales at his own expense. Before establishing Books for Troops, his hobby had been preserving and promoting the enjoyment of old time radio; his Radio Memories lending library contained 28,000 cassette tapes, which he copied and sent out all over the country until CD's made his technology obsolete.
On returning from the service Tom attended night school at Cleveland State University, earning a BS in business. Tom was retired from Ford Motor Company's Brookpark Engine Plant # 1, where he had worked first in transportation and later in the accounting department. Tom was a member of the "Friends of the Library" of nearly every library in a 50 mile radius, as well as numerous historical and genealogical organizations. He was a member of American Legion Post No. 193 in Mantua, and a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and of Weight Watchers. Tom was always looking for ways to do good in the world, including blood donations totaling over 10 gallons, and hosting six German boys as exchange students. Tom left his own floral memorial in the thousands of daffodils in their yard. On June 5, 1965, Tom married Ellen "Ellie" (Foster) Monroe of Mantua, referred to as "the love of my life" until the very end. They were a "summer romance" that lasted, falling in love while working on the staff of Camp Christian in Magnetic Springs, Ohio. They would have been married for 49 years in June. They lived most of that time in Lakewood, but moved to Mantua Township in 1999, to a home custom built for, and partially by them, on a corner of the Wayne Road farm where Ellie grew up.
Besides his wife, Tom leaves a son Edward Monroe, of Lakewood, Ohio, and a daughter, Shirley (her husband Skyler Bode) Monroe of Highland Park, New Jersey, and their two children, Martin, age 16 months and Agatha, 4 months, who filled grandpa's last months with joy and delight. Tom's only sister, Andrea Toonder of Santa Rosa, California also survives.
Calling hours will be Tuesday April 8, 2014 at the Green Family Funeral Home & Crematory Service in Mantua from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Tom will be laid to rest on Wednesday April 9, 2014, 10:00 a.m. at Westlawn Cemetery in Mantua Township, Ohio, where he will receive full military honor's provided by U.S. Army Honor Guard Team, assisted by members of Mantua American Legion Post No. 193. A Celebration of Life Service will then follow at 11:00 a.m. at the Mantua Center Christian Church with Rev. Chad Delaney officiating. A luncheon for family and friends will be held at the church immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Friends of Reed Memorial Library, or any similar group, or to the Western Reserve Historical Society Genealogical Committee, 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44106.
His obituary and video tribute may be viewed at www.greenfamilyfuneralhome.com
(Green Family Funeral Home & Crematory Service, 330-274-3145 RC 4-3, 4-6-2014)