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Former Senator Tom Casperson dies at 61

Heartfelt words poured out from colleagues and organizations around Michigan who once served with him.
Tom Casperson dies at 61
Tom Casperson dies at 61(WLUC)
Published: Nov. 29, 2020 at 9:12 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 12:21 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Former Michigan Senator Tom Casperson lost his battle to lung cancer Sunday evening after over two years of fighting.

Casperson represented the 38th district of the Michigan State Senate from 2011 to 2018. Prior to that he served in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the 108th District for six years.

Heartfelt words poured out from colleagues and organizations around Michigan who once served with him.

“I am incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of my friend, Senator Tom Casperson, after his long battle with cancer,” Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox said. “I had the distinct pleasure of serving with him in the legislature, and I was always inspired by his commitment to our shared values and to the people of Michigan. Tom Casperson will be remembered for his dedicated service to the Upper Peninsula, and he will stand as an example for future generations of public servants looking to better their communities. On behalf of all Michigan Republicans, I want to send our most heartfelt condolences to Senator Casperson’s family and friends.”

Casperson’s former Chief of Staff Marty Fittante said Casperson didn’t choose politics, politics chose him.

“He ran for office because of an accident that killed a young woman and her baby,” Fittante said. “He wanted to have a change in the law. The bureaucrat told him ‘if you don’t like the law then go change it.’ So, Tom did just that. The very first bill that he passed was in honor of that mother and that baby so that the log truck accident that took their lives wouldn’t occur again. I think in his heart it was that type of servant leadership that really was so important to him and what he tried to embody in his service.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Monday released the following statement:

“Tom Casperson was an unwavering public servant, who made sure Yoopers always felt like their voices were heard in our state Capitol at every point during the legislative process. While our politics varied, Tom proved that it was still possible to find common ground and work together to do right by the people of Michigan. As Senate Democratic Leader, I was proud to work across the aisle with state Senator Casperson to expand health care coverage through the Healthy Michigan plan, which now ensures coverage for more than 800,000 Michiganders across our state. Despite his diagnosis, Tom remained committed to doing the people’s work as he battled this vicious disease. My thoughts are with Tom’s family during this difficult time.”

After funeral arrangements are announced, a release will be issued to lower the United States and State of Michigan flags in his honor, the governor’s office said in a release.

State Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Township) issued the following statement on Monday upon the death of former Sen. Tom Casperson:

“Sen. Tom Casperson was a giant in the Upper Peninsula. His passing leaves an unfillable hole in the hearts of those who loved him and in the lives of the people he served for so many years.

“Tom was a brother, a friend, a mentor, a confidant and a partner in both work and fun. He helped me get into professional politics and guided me every step of the way. To say that he meant the world to me would be an understatement.

“He fought the good fight — in the logging business, in the halls of the state Capitol, against cancer — and did so humbly, with dignity and grace, yet with the spirit of a world champion. He attacked everything with passion. Big or small, he made the people’s issues his issues. To have Tom Casperson on your side was to have a teammate unwilling to quit, and that is part of what made him such a beloved and effective legislator in the U.P.

“As colleagues and friends, Tom and I shared many moments together, often in the car during hours-long commutes listening to the Packers on the radio. But what I most cherish is our shared love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That bond of faith helped each of us through many discouragements and hard moments when the way to live our faith was anything but clear. For me, he was the embodiment of Proverbs 27:17: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.’

“I had my last chat with Tom a few days ago. We celebrated some great wins and bemoaned the continuing struggles across the U.P. We talked about the need to keep mining, doing forestry, and moving propane. He spoke of his love for his family and friends and we prayed together, thanking God for eternal life. I know I will see him again. The best is yet to come.”

Casperson was 61-years-old. He is survived by his wife, Diane Casperson and their four children.

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