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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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May 30, 2020

3/28/2020 7:29:00 AM
Tom Hetland

Tom Hetland, age 73, town of Pelican, passed away March 25, 2020 with his family by his side under the passionate care of the Ascension ICU staff led by Dr. Brooks.

He was born in West Bend on April 13, 1946, the son of Stanley and Frances Hetland.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Frances, and his brothers Dick, John and Bernard.

He lived a good portion of his years in West Bend before moving to the Northwoods of Rhinelander in 1980. He was married to Dianne for 34 years. They continued to share family gatherings after divorce.

He worked a variety of jobs while being employed by Mallard Coach, Progress Enterprises, Peterson Health Care and City Cleaners prior to retirement. His most fulfilling work was with the special needs clients at Progress Enterprises. He was always able to put a smile on their faces and it was not uncommon to hear one of the clients shout out "Hi Big Tom" and give a high-five while downtown or in the grocery store.

Tom enjoyed life in the woods. Anything outdoors was fair game from camping with family and friends to fishing the lakes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada. Spring was spent tapping trees and tending the fire with maple syrup production. Hunting camp was something he looked forward to every fall. It wasn't just a 10-day event for him, there were preparations of the stands, meal planning, Friday night fish fries, Saturday night steaks, and the buck pool. A successful hunt wasn't judged by the amount of deer taken, but memories made, stories told, and time spent "at camp".

He enjoyed time spent with friends that involved a deck of cards, a dice box, a pool table or horseshoes. He could walk into most any local watering hole and find familiar faces to share some laughs over a couple of cold ones. Tom never came to appreciate the digital age, the only mouse he ever touched was a dead one in a trap.

He was an Eagle Scout, his Dad was an Eagle Scout and his sons are Eagle Scouts. He enthusiastically shared his outdoor skills with many scouts along the way.

He will be dearly missed by a lifetime of friends and his family, brother Joel of Loredo, Texas; sisters-in-law Patricia Hetland of Appleton; Sally Beghtol of Asheville, N.C., sons Scott and Ryan (Kim) Hetland, and Dianne Hetland, all of Rhinelander. He was grandpa and great grandpa to: Madeline, Eva, Tony, Amy, Christina, Julia, Tyler, Vincent and Lily.

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There will be a celebration of life at a later date.

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