Central Michigan University this afternoon mourns the passing of Clarence Tuma, who at age 91 is one of its iconic alumni.
Well known for his ownership and management of The Embers restaurant, Tuma enrolled in CMU after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He played baseball and football for Central and graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in physical education and minoring in industrial technology.
"Mr. Tuma was a lifelong friend to CMU," President George E. Ross said. "With a gentle soul and constant enthusiasm for CMU, he became a legend, in part through all the mentoring he did of Central students who worked at The Embers through the decades.
Tuma helped CMU organize 50- and 60-year reunions for the war-years generation and would spend hours in Carlin Alumni House, making personal phone calls to fellow alumni, encouraging them to attend, said Marcie Otteman, executive director of alumni relations.
Tuma was an emeritus member of CMU's Development Board, the alumni group that leads the way in financially supporting the university and its students.
"Mr. Tuma understood the transformative power of an education, and he fully embraced the Chippewa spirit of supporting the next generation of students," Ross said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends."