Thomas J. Schaefer, age 74, of Woodboro, died Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, after a fierce battle with cancer. He was born on April 20, 1948, the second son of William Henry Schaefer and Lilly Mae (LaPerriere) Schaefer. He grew up in Milwaukee and Brown Deer, graduating from Brown Deer High School in 1967.
He worked for the U.S. Postal Service from 1967 to 2004, the majority of those years spent as a letter carrier in Rhinelander. He had an incredible work ethic and worked to instill the same approach in his children and grandchildren.
He married Susan L. Friedli on June 1, 1968, in Milwaukee, and they enjoyed nearly 55 years of love and adventure together.
In addition to his beloved Susie, he is survived by his children: Scott (Ericka) of Wausau; Heidi and Heather, both of Rhinelander; and Shawn (Melissa) of Neenah; four grandchildren: Morgan, Brooke, Caleb and Cole; and one brother, Doug (Rose) of New Berlin.
He is further survived by nephews, nieces, cousins, other relatives and friends, including his very dear friend Lois Roller and her family, and his precious cavalier spaniels Romeo and Bella.
He was preceeded in death by his parents; his in-laws John and Leora Friedli; and his great friend Pete Roller, who has been waiting to show him around heaven.
Tom taught his children, grandchildren and many others how to water ski, one of his lifelong passions. His last skiing run was in August of 2022, shortly before his cancer diagnosis. He loved skiing on East Horsehead Lake, where the family spent summers and his youngest son now owns a residence, and on the ocean during annual trips to Jamaica with the Rollers.
He also had a passion for classic cars - especially Corvettes - attending car shows and watching car auctions. He was frequently on the move, traveling across the state to watch his grandchildren compete in all sorts of sporting events and activities. He was incredibly proud of all of them, rewarding them for their academic achievements and cheering them on in whatever they did.
There was nothing he loved more than summer days on the lake, surrounded by his family. He particularly loved it when his grandchildren would slalom ski together behind one boat. It is known as four-ski and is always very entertaining to watch. This summer, and for every summer after, we will remember and honor him by continuing this tradition.
Rest easy, Dad. We'll take it from here.
Funeral services for Tom will be held on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at 11 a.m., at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rhinelander. Rev. Karl Schultz will officiate.
A luncheon will follow the service at the church
Generations Funeral Home & Crematory of Tomahawk is assisting the family.
Online condolences can be expressed at www.generationsfuneral.com.
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