Thomas E. Geerdts, age 86, passed away peacefully December 23, 2019 at Brewster Village in Grand Chute. Tom was born in Milwaukee to the late Gustave “Goody” & Helen (Haslam) Geerdts on December 24, 1932. He grew up in Milwaukee in a small home on Fratney Street and attended Fratney Grade School & Riverside High School. Following High School Tom moved to Whittier, Alaska where he worked at Haddock Engineering as a Tool & Die maker. While in Alaska he joined the military. In 1953 he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the 496th Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion. He served in the U.S. Army for two years from 1953 to 1954 followed by six years in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1955 to 1961.
Following the military, Tom attended the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee where he played football and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and graduated in 1965. He then went on and studied at the University of Wisconsin- LaCrosse where he earned his Master of Science Degree in Physical Education. In 1965, Tom was then hired by the Neenah Public Schools where he was a Physical Education Elementary School teacher. Tom touched the lives of many children during his 24 years of service and retired in 1989.
Tom married Joyce Carol Grundmann on August 16, 1958 and had four children: Guy (1959), Greg (1961), Wendy (1965) and Cindy (1967). The family enjoyed homes in Neenah, Larsen, Butte Des Morts and Winneconne. The family went on many excursions together including trips out west to Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, and were also fortunate enough to attend the summer Olympics in Montreal and Los Angeles. The family enjoyed their annual Christmas Day ski vacation at Pine Mountain Ski resort along with their annual Christmas in July party on Lake Winneconne which is still held today.
After Joyce passed in 1996, Tom married Rita Long on April 10, 1999. Tom and Rita enjoyed traveling the world together. They enjoyed cruises to Alaska, Caribbean, Panama Canal, and along the Mississippi and Willamette Rivers. Tom and Rita also enjoyed trips to Ireland and Trinity College, Mexican Riviera and Costa Rica. They enjoyed many trips to visit family in Colorado, Oregon and San Francisco. They enjoyed several winters in Green Valley, Arizona where they loved to golf.
Being outdoors was a big part of Tom’s life. He was an avid hunter & fisherman and enjoyed camping with family and friends. Tom also enjoyed bowling, golfing and cards, especially cribbage and sheepshead which were family traditional games. Tom was a diehard fan of the Green Bay Packers as evidenced by his famous “Packer Room” where family & friends gathered to watch football games. Being in Mile High Stadium in Denver with family, to see the Packers defeat the Denver Broncos in overtime was high on his list of Packer memories. He enjoyed all sports especially the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the Milwaukee Brewers.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Joyce, daughter Wendy Kerrigan, son Greg, two brothers James and Michael Geerdts, and one sister Pat Haferbecker.
Survivors include his wife Rita Long; son Guy (Cherrie) Geerdts; daughter Cindy (Steve) Blackburn; son-in-law Patrick (Lisa) Kerrigan; Grandchildren: Cory (Kristin) Geerdts, Erin (Dan) Kerrigan, James (Ashley) Kerrigan, Cassandra (Peter) Geerdts Adam Blackburn, and Hunter Blackburn; Great Grandchildren: Ronan and Daschel Rudkevitch, Tommy James Kerrigan, Annastasia Blackburn; and two brothers Jerry Geerdts and Ned Geerdts. He is further survived by many wonderful nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be take place at 10:30 am on Saturday, January 11, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 312 S. State St., Appleton, with Deacon John Lucas, Tom’s brother-in-law officiating, followed immediately by full military honors. Friends may visit at the church on Saturday from 9:30 till the time of service. Interment will take place at Winneconne Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Brewster Village Life Enrichment Activities, Fox Valley Memory Care Project, or a charity of your choice in Tom’s name.
The family would like to thank the entire staff at Brewster Village especially the Gallery Staff for their outstanding care and compassion when taking care of Tom. Also we would like thank the Ascension Hospice team who were an important part of Tom’s final days. Tom especially enjoyed Chaplin Kerry with her therapy dogs George, the Golden Retriever and Pippa, the black lab.
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