Thomas “Tom” Charles Edens

Thomas “Tom” Charles Edens of Bellaire died March 15, 2020 at the age of 80 after a courageous battle with Lewy Body Dementia. 

Tom was a true north compass to his spouse, children, grandchildren, and many lifelong friends. He was a brilliant collaborator, thoughtful listener, resourceful problem solver, and tinkerer. His subtle and often dry sense of humor was ever present, even in the most challenging situations. People gravitated to him, yet he was modest and understated. 

He was born and raised in Manistee. His father Harold Edens was a newspaper typesetter and jazz musician and his mother Lillian (Long) Edens was an elementary teacher and school principal. His early years growing up outdoors on the shores of Lake Michigan fishing, canoeing and lifeguarding shaped his pursuit of life on the water and in the woods. 

Tom served in the U.S. Air Force in the Philippines and Japan from 1958-1962. After his service, he returned to higher education, completed a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from Western Michigan University in 1966 and a Ph.D in Economics and International Economic Development from Michigan State University in 1972. In 1965 he met fellow student and future spouse Mary Swerbinsky while on a Fulbright Scholarship in Yugoslavia. They married in 1966 and shared 54 wonderful years together. 

Tom taught economics at CMU from 1966-68 and at WMU from 1971-73. He was a professor of Resource Development and Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University from 1973-2000. Over the course of the next three decades, Tom became a leading-edge researcher in fields of energy policy, sustainable agriculture and integrated farming systems working across multiple disciplines including engineering (energy), agriculture and entomology. Along the way he served many government agencies including the EPA, NASA, and the Presidential Council on World Hunger. He was an avid outdoorsman (fishing, boating, hunting), accomplished woodworker, grill master and enthusiastically pursued golfing, paddleball, skiing, pool, and cards. 

Among the many who will miss him are his surviving family members. Tom was devoted husband to Mary Edens of Bellaire. Loving “Pops” to son Russell Edens (Micah) of Traverse City and daughter Christine Edens Le Pottier (Yves) of Ann Arbor. Adored “Gramps” to grandchildren Violet and Nikolai Edens; Luc, Sophie, and Benoit Le Pottier; and step grandchildren Declan, Rutger, and Cassius Feeney. Little brother “Tommy” to Darwin Edens of Algonquin, Ill. 

A memorial service will be held on May 30, 2020 at 1 p.m. at the Church in the Hills in Bellaire. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to support Hospice of Michigan-Traverse City ( or the Carl Rinne Lewy Body Dementia Support, Education and Awareness Fund. Donations to the Lewy Body Dementia Fund in Tom’s name can be made online at, via phone at 734-764-6777, or via mail to the Michigan Medicine Office of Development, 1000 Oakbrook Dr., Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.


The Review


Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 313
Bellaire, MI 49615
Phone: 231-533-5651
Fax: 231-533-4662
Physical Address: 
4470 S. M-88 Hwy.
Bellaire, MI 49615

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