obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Thomas Paul

A hardworking man of honor and integrity, Thomas Olenchek lived life to the fullest every day while making priceless memories with his friends and loved ones.

The first half of the 1940s found America deeply entrenched in WWII overseas after the vicious attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It was just after America and our allies were victorious that Isadore and Hedwig (Herkowski) Olenchek were pleased to welcome a healthy baby boy into their hearts and home on August 16, 1945, at Mount Sinai Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Raised in the family home alongside his younger brother, Jeff, Tom graduated from St. Hedwig Grade School on June 12, 1959, and then graduated from Messmer High School on June 2, 1963. From there Tom went on to earn his Associate of Applied Science in Accounting from MIT, which is now known as MATC, on June 1, 1966. He later achieved a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wisconsin State University Whitewater in May of 1971.

As a young man Tom met and later married Rosalie Petroski on June 10, 1967. They were blessed with the births of three children, Jennifer on January 27, 1972, and twins, Melissa and Michael on December 4, 1973. Tom and Rosalie later divorced in 1979.

Tom was hired at Briggs and Stratton on December 12, 1968, but he soon set his days in the workplace aside as he was inducted into the Marine Corps on April 19, 1968. He proudly served in Vietnam and was discharged on November 1, 1970. Tom went back to work after he was discharged and spent his entire career at Briggs and Stratton for over 27 years before retiring as a tool crib attendant on June 30, 2002.

In his leisure time Tom kept busy. He was an avid online game player who was also a science fiction aficionado. Tom enjoyed cooking and eating good meals and was a passionate Grateful Dead fan. He was known to travel to see fireworks displays as well. Everything he did was better when shared with friends, and his circle of friends was such a blessing in Tom’s life.

With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Thomas Olenchek worked hard and played hard while sharing his journey with those who meant the world to him. He will be deeply missed.

Thomas P. Olenchek died on Sunday, April 13, 2014, at Seven Oaks Nursing Home. Tom’s family includes his brother, Jeff Olenchek; niece, Christina Reardon; and children, Jennifer, Melissa, and Michael. Family and Friends will gather on Saturday, May 3 at Three Holy Women Parish – St. Hedwig Church 1702 N Humboldt Ave. from 10:30 a.m. until the time of Memorial Mass at 11 a.m. Inurnment Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Riverwest Food Pantry would be appreciated. Arrangements provided by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Suminski / Weiss (414) 276-5122,

Past Comments


Tom had a gift for quiet companionship. It was a calm center to sit with Tom, cups of coffee in one hand, and a book in the other. The simple act of reading together in the living room was peace itself. We constantly added to each other’s reading lists, happily sharing something we enjoyed. Tom loved long stories best and would lose himself in the worlds the author created. It is a happy thought to believe that Tom could look up Robert Jordan now and have Jordan tell Tom the story of the last book of the Wheel of Time over a cup of coffee.

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