Thomas James Colaner
1934 - 2020
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(News story) Thomas James Colaner, a member of the Bowling Green State University's 1959 National Championship football team that was inducted into the Bowling Green Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013, died peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 16 at St. Clare Commons in Perrysburg. He was 86.

Elected as the first president of the BGSU Falcon Club, Mr. Colaner was a former BGSU admissions director who went on to become regional director of the American College Testing program, where he served 35 years until retiring in 2005.

He was known for his affable personality and sense of humor.

"If he didn't tease you, he didn't like you," his son, Tom M. Colaner, said.

Mr. Colaner was born Sept. 17, 1934 in Canton to Nate and Mary Colaner.

After high school, he worked two years as an engineer for the Timken Co. before joining the U.S. Army, where he served in Hawaii with the 25th Infantry Division.

He attended Bowling Green State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in education in 1960 and was the starting end for the 1959 National Championship team.

His younger brother, Jerry Colaner, played guard.

Mr. Colaner's son-in-law, Terry Malone, serves as the current BGSU football team's offensive coordinator.

He said Mr. Colaner talked a lot about how the university, the football program, and Coach Doyt Perry changed his life.

"He did his best to pay back what he said the university and football team did for him," Mr. Malone said. "He just loved the place."

Thomas James Colaner earned his master's degree in education from BGSU in 1961, and taught at the university for one year before becoming an admissions counselor and then admissions director in 1968.

His 35 years of service as regional ACT program director led him in 1996 to be awarded the Ohio Association of College Admission Counselors' highest honor: the Jack Scott Award.

It recognizes individuals for their service, contributions to the field, and qualities such as humility, professionalism, dedication, fairness, and unselfishness.

In presenting the award, the organization said Mr. Colaner had earned the respect of hundreds, if not thousands, of educators with his "special teasing manner" and his ability as a motivator.

"He is forever giving credit instead of taking credit for a job well done," documents from the ceremony said.

Mr. Colaner is survived by his wife of 64 years, Shirley Colaner; son, Tom Colaner; daughters, Karen Benford Smith, Susan Hendrix, Katie Schafer, and Ann Malone; 16 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Sharon Colaner; sister Doris Josten, and brothers Bob Colaner, Don Colaner, and Jerry Colaner.

Arrangements are being handled by Dunn Funeral Home in Bowling Green.

A celebration of his life will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the BGSU Falcon Football Enhancement Fund #300119, or to a charity of the donor's choice.

This is a news story by Kaitlin Durbin. Contact her at or 419-724-6197.
Published in The Blade on Nov. 23, 2020.
No events have been scheduled at this time. Check back later or contact the funeral home for more information.
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December 7, 2020
The Colaner family lost a great husband, father and grandfather. I lost my best friend ever. What great memories of the times our family spent with Tom and Shirley and their family. Rest in peace Tom. You were the best!
Jim Lessig
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