Tom was born January 27, 1936 in Appleton, WI a son of the late Alphonse and Genevieve (McKlosky) Suttner-Derks. His father passed away when Tom was seven years old, and his mother married John Derks who raised Tom as his own son. He grew up in Green Bay before moving to Kingsford, MI. Following high school graduation, Tom chose to serve our country by joining the Air Force where he specialized in aircraft mechanics. After leaving the Air Force, Tom returned to Kingsford which is where he began his long career with WMP Co. and eventually moved to Seymour. Over the years he was active with the Seymour Jaycees and the IBEW.
Tom was blessed to have three children of his own and six more he considered his as well, therefore creating one large blended family. It was quite an effort to plan things to include all the kids, yet he made them all feel equally loved. On camping trips, it looked like a troupe of gypsies at times. With a Ford 10-passenger station wagon and a snowmobile trailer with sides filled to the overflow with tents, sleeping bags, coolers and bikes, the entire family would take off and hit the road. The result was hundreds of good memories to be preserved forever by all of the kids.
Tom and Grace were married in 1968 in Seymour and later moved to Two Creeks where Tom worked at the Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant. He served as an EMT and founding member of the Two Creeks volunteer fire department.
In 1982, after raising nine children, Tom and Grace moved to Maryland where he was hired by the Singer Link Company and helped to design nuclear plant simulators. Over the next 15 years, they continued their love of camping and golf. In addition, he developed a love for the Civil War and visited many battlefields in the Mid-Atlantic area. They both retired in 1997 and returned to Wisconsin, eventually buying a home in Shawano where he set up his long desired woodworking shop.
Tom loved giving back to the local community and became an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the American Legion DAV, AmVets Post 10, serving as a State Convention Chairman, and was an active AmVets Post 10 Shawano Life Member. Tom was also very involved with the Mielke Theater, serving as President and performed in several roles. Tom had a lifetime love of animals and volunteered at the Shawano County Humane Society.
Tom is survived by his children, Robert (Cheri) Suttner of New London, Renee Suttner of Sykesville, MD, Teri (Ed) Pecsko of Connellsville, PA, Cathy Middleton of Brookeville, MD, Gayle (Todd) Piontek of Detroit, MI, Michael (Barb Schaden) Skalitzky of Sobieski, Tracy Skalitzky of Brookeville, MD, and Dolly (Steve) Bowman of Milwaukee; grandchildren, Jason (Heather) and Jeremy Rohr, Scott and Greg Heagle, Michelle Johnson, Chad Voelker, Carrie (Alan) Mecikalski, Cristy (Andy) Chaney, Craig Voelker, Brandi (Jerry), Fawn, Autumn, and Thom Suttner, and Bree Ann and Marisa Bowman; 16 great-grandchildren; his brothers, Terence (Sharon) Suttner of DePere, John Derks of Iron Mountain, MI; and his sister, Denise Derks of Iron Mountain, MI. Tom was preceded in death by his loving wife, Grace, in 2008; his daughter, Kristine Kubichek, in 1983; and his great-granddaughter, Keelyn Schachtschneider in 2005.
A Funeral Mass for Thomas A. Suttner will be celebrated on Friday, May 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Shawano. Fr. Luke Ferris will be the Celebrant. Family and friends may call on Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM at Mickelson Funeral Service in Shawano. A prayer service will be held at the funeral home at 6:30 PM. Visitation will begin again on Friday, May 19, 2017 at Sacred Heart from 10:00 until the hour of Mass. Full Military Honors will be conducted by Shawano AmVets Post 10 at the church. Interment will take place in Red Springs Cemetery, Town of Red Springs, next to the love of his life, Grace, and their beloved pets.
“The family thanks the staff at The Cottages for the compassion and care that Tom received while he was a resident there.”