MONROE - Thomas Mell, 66, a county commissioner who saw his many years of public service in municipal government as an opportunity to help his neighbors and build communities, died Sunday in Monroe Mercy Memorial Hospital from complications of lung cancer.
Mr. Mell was elected to the Monroe County Board of Commissioners in 1998 and was the board's chairman in 2001 and its vice chairman since then. Before his election to the county board, Mr. Mell was the Ash Township supervisor for 14 years. He also was a certified tax assessor for the township from 1984 to 1990.
A Vietnam veteran, Mr. Mell was a proud American whose patriotism spurred his interest in politics and public service. "He would do everything in his power to help friends and neighbors in the community," his wife, Lucille, said. "That is what he enjoyed about public service," she said.
His approach to public service was based on his experience with the people of the communities that depended upon him, said Jerry Oley, chairman of the county commissioners.
"He was a man of his word who was never too proud to help out his constituents," Mr. Oley said.
Born in Carleton, Mich., he graduated from Flat Rock High School in 1957. After high school, he joined the Marine Corps and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and Vietnam.
The son of a longtime Ash Township clerk, Mr. Mell married the former Lucille Mexicott on Oct. 3, 1959.
He returned to Carleton after nine years of military service and took a job with a tool and die company. In 1969, he started working in the wheel room of a Ford Motor Co. plant in Monroe. He later completed an engineering degree from Monroe County Community College and retired from Ford in 2000 as a stationary steam engineer. He was a longtime member of Carleton United Methodist Church, the American Legion, and VFW.
Surviving are his wife, Lucille Mell; sons, Edward and Michael; five grandchildren, and a step-grandson.
Visitation will be after 1 p.m. today in the Arthur Bobcean Funeral Home, Carleton Chapel. Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in the church, where visitation will be an hour before the service.