Tom Hallisy, 86, died peacefully on December 15 at his home in the Hilton Head Island area of South Carolina, after meritorious battles with cancers and heart disease. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Tom was blessed with a large, loving family and a near-legendary assemblage of friends, while living in Ohio, Florida and South Carolina.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 27 years, Beth Holzheimer Hallisy, and the fun and loving families of his five children – Brian (Maria Theresa Vega) Hallisy, residing near Memphis, Tennessee, and children Brian (Briana Gray) and Ashley; Daniel Hallisy of Jacksonville, Florida, and children Joseph and Ashley; Michael (Shani Sprenger) Jones of Overland Park, Kansas, and children Christopher and Lauren; Matthew (Wendy Theiss) Hallisy of San Diego, California, and daughter Sophia Woodard; and Tara (Mark) Baughner of Novelty, Ohio, and children Evan, Logan, Jake Gawloski and Connor Gawloski. Tom also is survived by his former spouses and the mothers of his five children, Carolyn Elkins and Joanne Blake, and many nieces, nephews and friends. He is predeceased by his parents, Dr. James and Angela Hallisy of Cleveland Heights, Ohio and three brothers and two sisters and their families, the Keenans and the Huntleys.
Tom always was guided by his strong Catholic faith, courage of his convictions and forgiving heart. No one prized parties or adventure like Tom. He racked up more nicknames than seems lawful and stories of his shenanigans are sure to be told in perpetuity.
Tom’s always-on smile and indulging sense of humor coupled with his sparkly charm, worldly smarts and Irish gift of the craic served him well in social circles and earned him top props throughout his computer sales and management career. Among his international colleagues, he was consistently recognized as a top performer and rewarded with many trips abroad.
His hard work really paid off when it came to … wait for it … his short game. Anyone who played golf with Tom would tell you, his putting and chipping were epic and allowed him to enjoy the game more than most of us as a single handicapper and three-time hole-in-one shooter. He also was a wicked baseball player (mostly catcher) back in the day and treasured his field-of-dreams moment at Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp with his close childhood chum. Tom loved to compete and was a fan of all sports and also relished his dogs, cigars, travel, Broadway theater and music – often dancing about and singing made-up songs during his routine activities, like lighting up the grill and going to bed. He was a glass-filled-to-the-rim kind of guy. A student of history and politics, Tom remained an avid reader, learner and informed conversationalist his entire life.
Tom loved God above all else, serving his church as a spiritual leader. He also endeared himself to hundreds of children and parents as a volunteer camp supervisor and baseball coach – ready and willing to accept the dunk or pie in the face for the team.
Tom was inspired to live his life according to the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, Psalm 77:19 and the poem “Footsteps in the Sand.” He believed in God and always felt Jesus and the Holy Spirit present in his life. Tom will be remembered by all who loved him as a happy, good and generous soul.
This summer, the family will hold an interment ceremony near the St. Patrick Columbarium at All Souls Cemetery, Chardon, Ohio, and host a celebration of his life at the St. Francis Chapel on the campus of John Carroll University (Tom’s alma mater). Date and times to be announced here. If desired, donations in Tom’s memory may be made to the Midwest Provence of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) or Cleveland Clinic Cancer Research through Velosano.