In Mid 1990, while serving as an officer of the Convention Bureau serving a tri-county area including Michigan State University, General Motors and Michigan’s capital, this writer served on a search committee for a new CEO. Thomas Carter Galyon was one of several candidates. Following his introduction, Tom spoke. In less than a minute, I knew, without any hesitation, this was the perfect fit. Today, this former banking CEO and family friend will attest to the decision to bring Tom on board as being the best decision of his career. Tom turned the world upside down – all for the good!! He moved the bureau’s physical address to an area known as “Old Town,” filled with empty dilapidated buildings, turning it into a destination place for locals, visitors, tourists and the like. He collaborated with MSU’s renowned school of Hotel, Restaurant, Institutional Management (HRI) to enhance programs. Tom was an intricate player in advancing the Chamber of Commerce, Airport Authority, & Entertainment Authority's programs, as well as working closely on a day-to-day basis with mayors, county commissioners and state legislators. In summation, Tom turned an entire region into an engine of growth and prosperity.
Thirteen years later, Tom moved on to new challenges and opportunities.
On a more personal note, this writer and his lovely wife, Jeanette, not only became close friends with Tom, but also his beautiful bride, Sally, and their children Ashley and Addison. An absolutely wonderful family, full of love, togetherness, care and without a doubt, a family easily viewed as “all American.” Of course, Tom, besides working long hours, was an aficionado of exercise. He was also an impeccable dresser. As such, some of us not so physically fit, hit the treadmill a little more often and loosened the purse strings at our local men’s haberdashery - Kositcheks. Thank you, Tom for always setting the example.
Sadly, in 2014, Tom and his beloved family began a journey facing daily heart-wrenching challenges as Tom was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig disease). Through it all, Tom was still the man we all knew him to be – strong - making the very best of each day and never undermining his always positive mental attitude (PMA).
Throughout our 27 years of friendship, Tom always had the respect and admiration of everyone who came into contact with him. So few are granted so warm a personality and so fine an intelligence. While death is the inevitable goal we all face in life, there may be some small degree of consolation in the thought that death is but a narrow starlit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the happy reunion of tomorrow. May this thought help Tom’s wife, Sally, his loved ones and you and I who had the sincere privilege to know Tom, to carry on.
Donald and Jeanette