Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.

Thomas “Tom” Harold McTavish, 79, passed away in McLaren Hospital, Lansing, Michigan on January 29, 2022. Tom was a classic gentleman and leaves behind an amazing legacy of love and kindness. He made a difference in this world and left a life well lived.

The sixth of eight children, Tom was born on January 12, 1943, in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, to the late Francis Lamont and Kathleen Mathilda (Carrig) McTavish. He cherished his memories of growing up on Tunnelhill and kept in touch over the years with his childhood friends.

Tom graduated from Gallitzin High School as senior class president of the Class of 1960, before attending Pennsylvania State University, where he graduated in 1964 with an accounting major and economics minor. He was a life-long Penn State fan and especially enjoyed the Nittany Lions football season. Over the years he attended many games in person, but also enjoyed watching at home while yelling encouragement or voicing his opinion loudly in the direction of the TV.

Shortly after graduation from Penn State, he joined the U.S. Navy and attended Officer Training School in Rhode Island. He was on active military duty from 1965 to 1968, stationed at Coos Bay, Oregon, and continued as a reservist from 1968 until 1993, serving a total of nearly 28 years. He last served as the Commanding Officer of the Naval Audit Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and retired in 1993 as a Captain with six military awards and decorations. He was very proud of his Navy career and in later life enjoyed weekly get-togethers with his Navy buddies.

Upon leaving active military duty in 1968, Tom began his professional career as an auditor with Stockton Bates & Co., a regional CPA firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was an audit manager at Stockton Bates before leaving to join the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s Office in 1973 where he was employed in various positions before being appointed Deputy Auditor General, serving in that capacity from 1987 to 1989.

For over 16 years during this same time period, he was a part-time associate lecturer teaching introductory and intermediate accounting, business finance, and federal and state income tax courses at two community colleges and at Penn State, Hershey Campus.

On October 18, 1989, Tom was appointed as Michigan’s 41st Auditor General and took office on November 2, 1989. He was reappointed to two additional eight-year terms. At the request of the Legislature, Tom continued serving as Auditor General beyond the end of his third full term, until June 8, 2014, for a total of 24 years and 7 months, which made him Michigan’s longest serving Auditor General.

During his tenure as Auditor General, Tom served as president of the National State Auditors Association (NSAA) from 1999 – 2000 and as president of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) from 2008-2009. He was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. He received the AICPA Outstanding CPA in Government Award in 2011, and the prestigious NSAA William R. Snodgrass Distinguished Leadership Award in 2014. In addition, Tom implemented strategies that led Michigan’s Office of the Auditor General to being recognized as one of the most effective and highly regarded state audit departments in the country. Equally important to him, however, was the family atmosphere that he created in the office. He took a genuine personal interest in all of his employees and his door was always open to anyone who needed to talk, for whatever reason. He always said that the office was a team, and that no one worked “for” him, they worked “with” him.

While Tom’s career was important, nothing was more important to him than family and friends. Tom was the absolute best husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend that anyone could ask for. His love and devotion to his family was second to none.  That love and devotion was also extended to the family pets and he amused the neighbors by taking Sophie the dachshund on a drive every morning to get the newspaper,  always stopping to visit with Gouda the steer, Eleanor the goat, and the many other animals on his way back down the driveway.

Tom will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 31 years, Cynthia; children, Sean, Camp Hill, PA; Todd (Vanessa), Las Vegas, NV; Melissa Carstensen (Jakob), Davidsonville, MD; Nicholas Clere (Nicky), Swanton, OH; and Caitlin, Lansing, MI; grandchildren, Isabella, Pia, and Mattias Carstensen; and Adam, Luna, and Lucy Clere; sister, Cindy, Gallitzin, PA; sister-in-law, Pat, Rockville, MD; sister-in-law, Linda, Franklin, TN; sister-in-law, Carole, Gallitzin, PA; sister-in-law, Darlene, State College, PA; former wife, Sharon, Camp Hill, PA; and many nieces and nephews.

Tom was predeceased by his parents, Francis Lamont and Kathleen Mathilda (Carrig) McTavish; son, Adam R. Clere; brothers, Francis, Raymond, Charlie, Larry, Ronnie, and Jon; and sisters-in-law, Dona, and Peg.

Tom will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia. The dates of his internment and funeral service will be announced at a later date.

Those wishing to make memorial donations may do so to the Bonell Foundation: Living with Cystic Fibrosis, P.O. Box 1215, Royal Oak, MI 48068 ( which offers college scholarships, medical assistance, and lung transplant grants to those affected by cystic fibrosis, or to the National Kidney Foundation, 30 East 33rd Street, New York, NY 10016 (

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Tom’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements were entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, 616-452-3006, exclusive providers of Veterans Funeral Care.


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.

1 Condolence

  1. Susan McTavish on February 15, 2022 at 9:46 am

    My Uncle Tom was and will always be an amazing man! I will always remember all the fun trips to visit my cousins and how my Aunt and Uncle made us all feel so welcomed. Seeing his picture in his Naval uniform makes me so proud he was my Uncle!
    I am so very sorry, to his kids, grandkids, wife, aunt and extended family! He will be missed by many.

Leave a Condolence