S: Thomas Wayne Whittow 1950-2010
FC: Thomas Wayne Whittow January 18, 1950 - February 11, 2010
15: I first spotted Tom in Mrs. Yeko’s 11th grade English class. I was on the Holly Hop decorating committee and Tom was the first boy on my list to ask. He was a Language Lab Monitor at the same time I was a Study Hall Monitor. One day when I was wearing my Drill Team uniform I went to see the “Christmas decorations” in the Lab, or so I said. When Tom walked me back to my Study Hall, I asked him if he’d like to go to the Holly Hop with me. After the dance on December 10th, 1966, Tom invited me to attend a basketball game with him the following week. We dated from then on. Our first formal was the DeMolay Ball on April 1, 1967. We attended another Ball and both of our Proms. I’ll never forget my Prom picnic at Lannon Park because Tom was kicked out of the park by the park ranger. All he did was walk barefooted in the quarry. We both went to UWM and often drove there together. We hung out a lot with Rick and Cheryl. They introduced us to Hermann and Sue and others at the Lutheran Campus House. We ended up standing up in Rick and Cheryl’s wedding. Tom got very jealous when someone at their wedding asked me to dance. Shortly after he proposed on one knee. We were juniors at UWM and planned a wedding for the following summer even though we’d have another semester of school to complete. Our wedding day on August 7, 1971 was perfect, followed by a honeymoon to South Dakota in our Volkswagen Bug. We met my cousin Doug and his wife Myrna and had fun with them for a day while their new car was being repaired. | Rita's Memories
16: For a while we lived using our wedding money. While finishing school, we both worked and were care takers for three, four-family apartment buildings. Thankfully, Tom got a job at Bucyrus Erie after graduation and I substitute taught for a year and a half. Late in the summer of 1974 we bought our first house at 5365 N. 107th Street. In 1974 I was pregnant and Tom was laid off. Thanks again to God, he was hired by Koehring, another construction equipment company. At that time, they only used ear plugs and eventually Tom claimed that is what caused him some hearing loss. | Three year later, he was laid off again and was hired to work in A.O. Smith’s Engineering Department. My dad had worked at A.O. Smith for twenty five years and was sure that Tom would one day be its President. However, Tom was extremely bored there and decided to go back to school at night for his Master’s Degree. A.O. Smith paid for school and he could do his homework when his jobs were finished at work. During this time we had Holly and Dan. He received his Master’s Degree in the Spring of 1979 and later met Jim Fisher, one of his teachers, who was speaking at an engineering conference. That lead to Tom’s job at Computerized Structural Design starting on April 24, 1979. In 2005 Tom was approached to run for the President of CSD. He told me he loved doing engineering and didn’t know if the position would still allow him to do what he enjoyed. He spoke with Pastor Klatt who told him that God had prepared him for leadership, so why not fill out the forms and let God decide. The original vote was tied between Tom and Curt and after seven votes Tom was President. He took this new position seriously and started his new work in November 2006. During the next several years, Tom brought about many changes, for the better, at CSD. He felt it was important for all of the workers to see themselves as part of a team, each pulling their own load and strove to have all things be fair and in writing for future use. | Grandpa and Matelyn in the new Presidents office
17: We moved to 3000 Huntington Circle on September 8, 1980. The side lawn had an open area of grass which Tom would change from a baseball field to a soccer field to a football field as the seasons changed. The side lawn also became a volleyball court as the children got older. I remember a neighborhood child ringing the doorbell to see if Mr. Whittow wanted to play baseball. During the kids early years he played on three softball teams. | Before children, we vacationed with Bob and Linda Anderson. Staying at the Abbey in Lake Geneva, we rented a snowmobile and took our first downhill ski lesson. The instructor called Tom a “hot dogger” on the slope! We also toured New England and the Canadian side of Niagara Falls with them. We met up with Gary Schanning yearly for dinner at a restaurant or at our house. We bought our only dog, an Irish Setter named Thirsty, on July 1, 1975, the day our first baby was due. Thirsty was what Tom called “hyper and dumb”. Tom and his dad built Thirsty a kennel and two room dog house. He had to grow a thick coat so he could be trained for hunting, which never happened. Thirsty got us in trouble with our neighbors because he barked whenever we left the house. Tom even pushed the car out of the driveway hoping Thirsty wouldn’t know we were gone. Whenever I was pregnant, Tom really doted over me. Tom loved being in the delivery room coaching me in labor. Tom was a wonderful father and excelled at being the playful dad especially as Holly and Dan were school age. We played a lot of hide and seek and superhero Wonder Woman tickling games. It was Tom that I scolded for playing with a basketball or soccer ball in the house. | Tom playing with Dan and Holly
18: Camping was an inexpensive way to have a lot of fun with Holly and Dan when they were small. We went camping with the Schmelings and the Andersons. We also vacationed with Tom’s parents at Wayne and Paula’s cottage. We wanted to show our children as much of the U.S. as possible. Our first big trip was from Grampa and Gramma Whittow to Florida. Tom’s dad got sick so we ended up going without them. One trip included visiting Dick and Jan in Cincinnati, then heading over to Gettysburg and Virginia. We took the children out of school for a winter trip to Southern California which was wonderful. Yellowstone National Park was also one of our favorite trips. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s we traveled all over the country with Dan’s select soccer team, including trips to Washington D.C., Colorado and St. Louis. Holly and Dan often got to bring a friend along (Matt Krueger, Sarah Glatzel and Pat McCabe). When Holly and Dan started playing soccer Tom volunteered to coach their teams and he was good at it! He taught himself the game by reading about it. He would come home from work early, change his clothes and grab supper (usually two hot dogs) to eat in the car on the way to practice. This got him a bad rap at CSD being told he wasn’t a company man even though he went into work early and always got his work done. Tom learned to love the game so much that one year he organized a men’s CSD indoor soccer team. Sports were important to Tom. He organized a softball team at CSD. He also organized a couples volleyball team. We were terrible! It was hard for him to not play sports in his last years. He said watching wasn’t as much fun as playing. Maybe this is why he looked forward to skiing as long as he could. He also enjoyed being on the golf course with Dan. | Hanging out with the Wonkas, Andersons, Schmelings, and Whittows
19: Tom was confirmed Methodist but only attended church several times a year when we met. I told him that I was concerned about this when our relationship was getting serious. He assured me that we would attend church together. After we were married at Bethany, we “church shopped” and ended up back at Bethany, taking a membership class. Soon after Tom became a member, Pastor Goltermann asked him to Superintend the Sunday School, working with Bob Schulz who was the Youth Group Chairman. He was later asked to Chair the Evangelism Committee and eventually became the Congregational President and an Elder. He also enjoyed leading Bible studies. Tom and I took the Bethel Teacher Training for three years and Tom learned Greek from Pastor Wayne Rassmussen on Saturday mornings for two years. Tom loved learning a new language and wished he had discovered this earlier. God was giving Tom more wisdom and preparing him for leadership. He lead the congregation through many challenges that they faced as the neighborhood changed and Bethany School closed. In 1994, we decided to support Pastor Alan Klatt in the forming of a mission church named Faith Alive Lutheran Church. The church didn’t grow as expected so Pastor Al accepted another call. The people of Faith Alive felt connected and didn’t want to follow him to his new church. That is when Pastor Eb Klatt told Tom that he could continue leading the group. Little did anyone know that it would go on for fifteen years in homes and then at the Ridge Movie Theater. Tom applied what God had been teaching him over the previous years and would prepare the lessons over his lunch breaks at work. He truly loved teaching God’s Word. | Church Council meeting at Tom and Rita's home
20: When Holly and Dan went to school at Immanuel Brookfield and Milwaukee Lutheran High School we formed new friendships with the parents of the friends the kids made. Our lives continued to revolve around our children in the next phase of their lives. Life was busy and fun attending their activities and being their cheering team at sporting events. Again, we took ski lessons while being chaperones for the school. We went out with the Kruegers, Turks, Arps and McCabes. From their birth we regularly prayed for Holly and Dan’s future mates to be Godly people. Tom shared this at both of their wedding receptions. We were so grateful God answered this prayer. Through high school and college we were happy that they wanted to bring their friends home. We usually had homemade pizzas in the freezer that the four of us made together just in case someone would drop in. I think their school dances and activities may have been as much fun for us as for them. We wanted to have big family trips before Holly and Dan would be working or leaving home. During this time we went on another trip to Florida, Las Vegas for our 25th wedding anniversary and on a cruise to the Caribbean. We boarded the ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico and stopped at St. Thomas Island and St. Maarten Island. We really enjoyed going on vacations with the family and felt blessed to be able to. These were great memories. | Tom, Rita, Holly and Dan on the cruise ship
21: The moving in and out of Concordia and UWM housing always led to Tom telling stories of moving Dick to Carroll College and fixing his brother’s apartments with his dad. Tom was very close to his dad, and helped his mom the best he could when Bob was on dialysis for one and a half years. He was glad that Dick and Jan decided to move back to Wisconsin after Bob died. Tom truly loved his brother and liked laughing with Dick about past memories. Tom was happy that Dick found the girl (Jan) that made him happy. He also was very proud of both Megan and Ryan. He especially enjoyed the summer we went to a cottage to spend time with their family and fish with Ryan. Being with them and watching them grow was important to Tom. Holly and Dan’s weddings were two of the happiest days of our married life. The pictures show that we both had more fun those two days than we did at our own wedding. We were proud parents that danced the night away! | Dan, Nicole, Tom, Rita, Pat and Holly
22: The next phase of our life together was being empty nesters. We decided we would travel as much as we could before we would be too old and that is what we did. I stopped teaching and went with Tom when he taught classes for the UW system, visited steel mills for CSD and attended conferences. This took us to Madison (twice a year), Indiana (many times), Las Vegas (5 times), Florida (3 times), Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, California and Maryland. It was great being together and it gave me a lot of respect for Tom and his profession. He would share ideas he had for work and at times I became his secretary or chauffeur so he could work in the car. Some of the work trips were extended into vacations. Between the years 2000 and 2010 we spent a lot of time at the computer planning vacation trips. These trips included Glacier National Park with the Andersons and Wonkas via the Amtrak in 2003. In 2004 we went to Paris France, England and Wales with the Kruegers. Tom was so excited to meet two cousins and see the "Whittow Fishing Warf”. For our 35th Anniversary we stayed at Secrets Excellence, an all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We found out we could enjoy a relaxing vacation where we were pampered and thoroughly enjoyed each other (like before children). We later made a return trip to Riviera Maya. Then we convinced Hermann to be our interpreter on a trip of a life and went with the Wonkas to Austria and Germany. Tom did all of the driving when we were in Europe. I think he got a thrill out of the challenge of driving on the left side of the road in England and driving an Alfa Romero on the Autobahn in Germany, where there is no speed limit. In college he dreamt of being a race car driver and was driving his V.W. on an organized optical course in Waukesha the day we thought my water broke. He passed the first trial run, then we left for the hospital. We traveled to weddings that took us to Baltimore for Jodi Meitl’s, Nashville for Michael Wrucke’s and Greensboro for Mike Meitl’s. Michael Wrucke was our neighbor and his wedding was held at Amy Grant and Vince Gill’s home. On the way to Greensboro, we stopped at Smoky Mountain National Park. Tom always liked the outdoors and we both were awed by God’s beauty in nature. Tom especially enjoyed hiking on trails that lead to waterfalls. He talked the Wonkas into going with us to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. It was written up in the newspaper as having seven waterfalls. We were given many opportunities to travel as a family after both Holly and Dan were married. God was so good in financially allowing us to go on ski trips to Upper Michigan, Colorado and Wisconsin as a group. We also went to Florida in 2004 and 2008 getting to really know Pat and Nicole and also bond with our wonderful grandchildren as our numbers grew. The Wisconsin Dells was close enough to make a weekend trip and then a birthday destination that we surprised Tom with for his 60th birthday.
23: There is no greater blessing than that of grandchildren. Tom loved being with the four he was able to be with and was equally excited about the fifth on the way. He actually did better at helping care for the grandchildren as infants than our own children. Again, he was best at stepping up to the plate when it came to play time. When inside, building with blocks and making tents were great fun. While outside, play went back to the days of baseball and soccer on the side grass, only now it was at our new house on Mayfair Drive. Tom liked taking the grandchildren on new adventures. Taking Matelyn, Mason and Hailey to see the Veggie Tales and the play “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” was great fun. State Fair became a yearly activity along with trips to the zoo and parades often followed up with a trip to Dairy Queen for a cherry dipped cone. As a couple we loved being near the coast and especially connected as we sat and watched the sunset. We would race to find a spot to watch the sunset in Door County, California, Mexico and Florida. Sometimes we would ooh and aah as if we were at the fireworks. Fireworks were another thing we loved to do ever since our first summer together in 1967. Tom was my soulmate, my friend, my rock, my teacher, my playmate, my encourager, my personal comedian who could pick me up when I was down and make me laugh. We learned more about each other as each year passed and brought new experiences. He was a committed and loving husband, father and grandfather and I praise and thank God for the forty four years I had with him in this life. I look forward to reuniting with him in the next.
24: Dad placed a high priority on spending quality time as a family. That attitude was reflected in the activities that we did together. Many of the greatest memories that I have with my dad include sports. The first organized sport that I played was soccer. Even though dad didn’t know the first thing about soccer, he went to the store and bought a book about soccer so that he could help coach my soccer teams, the Turbos (U-8), the Cobras (U-10) and the Rampage (U-12 through U-18). We had a great time as a family traveling the country for soccer tournaments. Dad also coached my 3rd and 4th grade basketball teams. In addition to coaching, dad participated in our neighborhood baseball, basketball and football games and played in softball leagues until the last summer that he was alive. I loved going to watch his softball games as a kid and eventually played softball with him once I got old enough. Not only did dad like to coach and play, he loved to watch sports. We frequently attended Milwaukee Wave indoor soccer games and devoted our Sunday afternoons to watching the Packers play on TV (no matter how bad they were!). As I grew older, dad introduced me to downhill skiing and golf. Both of these activities created opportunities to spend quality time with dad. I will never forget the great times we had skiing at Sunburst, Cascade, Big Powderhorn, Indianhead, Vail, Copper and Winter Park. I will never forget the time dad got a little overzealous and skied off a jump at Big Powderhorn landing face first, breaking his glasses and scraping his face and nose so bad that he was dripping blood in the hot tub that night. Near the end of his life, dad and I spent quite a bit of time golfing together. Since we worked together, it was very convenient to leave work early on Friday afternoons to play golf. I cherish the great times we had golfing together and truly miss hanging out with my favorite golf partner. Since I chose to follow in dad’s footsteps as a Structural Engineer, I also had the opportunity to interact with him as a professional. While I was attending graduate school at UWM, he taught my Masonry Design class. He was a great teacher and provided practical insight into designing masonry structures. After graduation, I went to work at Computerized Structural Design (CSD) with my dad. A few years after I started at CSD, he was elected President. Working with him at CSD I gained a great amount of respect for him both as an engineer and a boss. | Dan's Favorite Memories | CSD Golf Outing | Coaching the Rampage | Skiing at Vail
25: Holly's Memories | My Dad was the BEST! He was BIG 6’5” but he was a giant lover & not a fighter. He wanted peace & happiness in our family as I was growing up, but he sure could get down & dirty with the best of ‘em! One of my favorite memories was Saturday morning wrestling & cartoons with the 4 of us. We were constantly doing something together playing hide & seek, soccer or basketball, going on bike rides, camping, swimming, sledding, or watching movies or sports on TV. I have to say 1 of my absolute favorite things to do with my dad was watch Packer games. I LOVED coming home from college or wherever I was to watch the game with him. I was blessed to go to my 1 & only game with him at Lambeau field! How lucky were we!! Dad also coached & attended most sports events Dan or I had. That meant a lot to me. He was at all of Matelyn’s games too until the end. We traveled a lot of places growing up. I was blessed that way, not all families get to do that. We went to California, Washington DC, Colorado, Missouri, Kentucky, Las Vegas, Tijuana , Florida, & went on a Caribbean cruise..just to name a few. I vividly remember 2 specific trips probably the last 2 I went on with him. We went to Disney with the “whole crew”. I can still picture him in front of Cinderella’s castle holding kids & smiling! From that trip too, I can see Dad & Matelyn running & jumping in the ocean waves. He was so much fun! The other trip I remember was to the Dells (to celebrate his 60th bday)& him coming down this crazy water slide with Dan & Hailey his glasses had fallen off & all of them were just laughing like crazy. We also went skiing on that trip. It was cool because he got to see Matelyn, Mason & Hailey ski! It was always SO neat to see him with Matelyn & Mason & Hailey & Owen. He loved them so much! I wish Kenzie could have met him! He loved her even before she was born tho! My dad was a source of security, peace, & strength for me. He could calm my fears like no one else could simply by BEING there. (Pastor Klatt said in his funeral message that this wasn’t because he himself was this amazing man, but a man who allowed the Holy Spirit to work in him). I will never forget the day of my wedding I was a nervous wreck. Honestly I think I started hyperventilating a bit & I asked my dad to pray (gotta say, he was a little emotional himself so this was no easy task!) He pulled a pray from deep within & we were blessed with the most peaceful, joyous day! What a cool way to think about my dad! A simple man who let himself be used by the Holy Spirit & was a blessing to SO MANY. One person at his funeral told me, “I will be in Heaven someday because of your dad”!!!! How cool is that?! Will someone say that about me?! Isn’t that what all of us are asked to do?!? Be His hands & feet and live a life showing Christ to all we are around. My dad was a great Christian example; that is how he lived his life! He taught me and so many others that true peace, strength, & security come from Christ and HIM alone. My dad was the BEST! I miss him so much, but I thank God every day for blessing me with him & I truly look forward to the day when I get to see him again. In Heaven, where we will be together forever! LOVE YOU DAD!!
26: Memories from. . . | My Grandpa was the BEST Grandpa in the whole world! He was supportive and made it to as many of my games as he could. He loved me and my cousins so much! I remember whenever we grilled with him and he was using a grilling thongs he used to always say, “Mr. Pinchers!” and pretend to pinch us with it. One of my favorite memories of my Grandpa was going to the ocean in Florida and holding his hand jumping in the waves. When we were in Florida we also went to Disney and Animal Kingdom. In Animal Kingdom we went on Mt. Everest and I remember getting off the ride with him saying, “I did NOT like that!” and neither did Grandpa. For Grandpa’s 60th B-day we went to the Dells and swam in the water park. We also went skiing at Cascade, and I even got to ski all by myself with just Grandpa. It was very special! We also used to go fishing and camping with my Grandpa. Another one of my favorite memories is playing hide and seek with Grandpa, Hailey, and Mason. Hailey, Mason and I would hide and Grandpa would seek. When he found us he would say, “BOO!” and scare us. At Elmbrook church, Grandpa, Grandma, & I dressed & worked Bethlehem Market Place. Grandpa had to take his glasses off for costume, so he looked a lot different. Hailey & Owen came through and didn’t recognize him. It was cool doing that with him. I was very fortunate to get to do SO MANY fun things with my Grandpa! I can’t wait to see him again some day! -Matelyn | Matelyn (9/14/01) | Mason (11/9/04) | Hailey (5/7/06) | Owen (2/12/08)
27: the Grandchildren | My favorite things to do with Grandpa were go camping and fishing. I loved playing baseball with him and he also played in the snow with us. Grandpa played with us a lot-all fun things. I loved when he played Mr Pinchers! I love & miss Grandpa because he was special and really nice. -Mason | I love and miss Grandpa because he was special to me. He helped teach me how to ski. My favorite thing was playing “monkey” with Grandpa. I held his hands and then I jumped around on him and hung on him. -Hailey | Owen was Grandpa's "Happy Jack". He loved to hold him because it was so easy to get him to smile.