Thomas G. Hetzel, of Marblehead, passed away March 5 at The Toledo Hospital after a brief illness. Tom was a loving and dedicated husband to Sue, caring and supportive father to Patti Ziegman-Sanchez (Rob) and Debbie Frankowski (Norm), and proud grandfather of Maria Nicolia (Anthony), Megan and Alea Ziegman, and Nicholas, Kyra and Nathan Frankowski, all of whom miss him dearly. He also leaves behind his sister, Betty Hood, cousins, nieces and nephews, and a beautiful abundance of good friends. He joins his parents in Heaven, George and Helen Hetzel, where he is most likely fishing with his best fishing partner, his dad.
Tom had many passions in life. As a rule, when he decided to pursue a goal, it was done without doubts and with full commitment. He spent his career as a dentist in Port Clinton where he practiced equal parts health care provider and mentor.
Tom loved learning—on either side of the equation. He loved to teach, taking every opportunity from Power Squadron to mentoring Danbury community youth, to share his experiences and knowledge. He also loved to learn. A love of gardening grew into a fruit orchard, passion for fishing transitioned into Charter Captain and Merchant Marine Licenses, and a combined love of woodworking and boating culminated into a seven-year project to obtain plans, and build with his own hands, (and the hands of countless friends), a 24 foot lobster-style boat he named the Maine Dreamer.
Tom loved music. He was an accomplished percussionist, trumpet player, and vocalist and shared his talents with the community through many organizations. Polka music was always playing at home and if he was fishing, it could be heard drifting across the water. He always said the fish didn’t mind it.
Tom’s wish was to donate his body to a medical school so students could learn, as someone had done for him in his early years of his education. UTMC accepted his donation, and he will remain a vital part of their program for the next few years. When his gift there is complete, his ashes will be taken out to Lake Erie on the Maine Dreamer.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at Port Clinton Yacht Club on Sept. 11 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A brief ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. All are welcome. Maine Dreamer will be docked there for the afternoon, so that those who generously shared in that dream can see the results he was so proud of.