Walter Thomas “Tom” Karis

March 23, 1934 - August 19, 2020

Walter Thomas “Tom” Karis, 86, a resident of Cape Coral, FL for the past 20 years, formerly of Lake Villa, IL, passed away Wednesday, August 19, 2020 in Cape Coral. He was born March 23, 1934 in Hazelton, PA to Walter and Katherine Karis, now deceased.

Tom was of the Catholic faith and served in the United States Army. People who knew Tom were touched over and over again by his extraordinary generosity  Dogs were always a very important part of Tom’s and Rich’s lives, with never less than two and sometimes four furry creatures finding the best of care with Tom.  Tom and Rich had been together for almost forty years; when same – sex marriage became legal, they married on July 8, 2015, But Rich held onto the date they first met, December 6th, 1980, thus giving them both a double reason to celebrate, St. Nicholas’ Day and Christmas.

He is survived by his beloved husband, Rich Green of Cape Coral.

A Private gathering will be held.

Memorial Contributions in memory of Walter Thomas “Tom” Karis are suggested to the Cape Coral Animal Shelter, 325 SW 2nd Ave., Cape Coral, FL 33991.

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.


  1. Linda Brinsley Aug 22, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    I never got the pleasure of meeting Tom, but I feel as if I knew him from stories I had heard over the years from Rich and his sister Marsha. I know he was a very good and special person and will be dearly missed. His love of dogs is just one thing that made him such a cariing person.

  2. Laura Vanderkooy Aug 23, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I am so very sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. We met him at a lovely Bridge party that Kay was hosting, while we were in
    Cape Coral. Tom was a wonderful and devoted partner to Rich and a loving dog Dad to the pups. We had fun playing with Tom on that lovely afternoon. He will be dearly missed!

  3. Sandi Pound Aug 24, 2020 at 12:53 am

    Hi Rich,
    You are in my thoughts and prayers at this sad time. Tom will be missed at bridge and elsewhere. I extend my heartfelt condolences to you, and hope you’re able to soon smile again when you reflect on the abundance of happy memories of your life with Tom.

  4. Mike R. Magliane Aug 24, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    I first met Tom when he lived in Chicago before moving to the Illinois suburbs. We kept in sporadic touch over the years and met occasionally around the holidays or when I traveled to Florida. In Tom’s early days he would say, “I’LL NEVER GET A DOG!”…but as fate would have it, he became an angelic caregiver of less fortunate pooches. When I visited, he either had a dog on his lap or one arm’s length away. He was a good old soul. I’ll miss him. My thoughts are with you, too, Rich,

  5. Marsha Ebert Aug 26, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Tom was a wonderful brother and brother-in-law to me. I treasure the many visits in Illinois and Cape Coral where I was treated with kindness and generosity. Tom and I had many dog discussions as we were both great dog lovers and shared many interests. He will be greatly missed by all and especially my brother, Rich. We loved him dearly.

  6. Jean Kirkbride Sep 4, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    I did not know Tom personally, rather through corresponding with his husband, Rich, and Rich’s sister, Marsha. He was obviously well loved and his dedication to the dogs who were fortunate to have been a part of their family illustrates his character. I’m sorry that we did not meet in person, but he has made his mark on this world and left it a better place for his presence.

  7. Pat Pratser Sep 8, 2020 at 9:27 am

    I knew him as Walt. Hard worker, friend, dog lover, co-worker and the essence of kindness. We called each other once a year on our Birthday . Rich, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  8. Pat Pratser Sep 8, 2020 at 9:35 am

    I knew him as Walt. Hard worker,friend, animal lover, co-worker and the essence of kindness. We called each other once a year on our respective birthdays. Rich, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  9. Tom Burke Sep 9, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Our deepest sympathy to you and all your families. May he rest with out pain and suffering. God bless you both

  10. Richard Green May 7, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    I’m a few months short of two years since I lost Tom to cancer. It’s something I won’t get over, as life is sometimes empty and very lonely. There are no dogs either to welcome me home when I’ve been out. Tom was their real caretaker, our having lost Casper to diabetes complications first and my losing Oscar just days before I lost Tom. I think Oscar wanted to meet Tom at heaven’s gate, leading him to all the pups lost over many years. What a homecoming that must have been!

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