Rudolph Thomas (Tom) Geimer, devoted husband and father, dedicated teacher, avid golfer, loyal friend, and Wisconsin Badger fan passed away on Friday, July 26, at the Reedsburg Area Medical Center with his family by his side surrounding him with love.
Tom was born in Manitowoc, WI on August 27, 1931 to Charles Rudolph and Emma (Schwartzenbart) Geimer. He grew up in Cooperstown, WI and attended Denmark High School. He excelled in football and basketball, was elected Junior Class President, was Prom King, and was the first representative from Denmark High School to attend Badger Boys State in 1948. He graduated from Denmark High School in 1949 and enlisted in the United States Army the following month. He served in the military from 1949 through 1952 and was a Korean War veteran. However, travelling to and from Korea on a battle ship resulted in him having no desire to travel by cruise ship for the remainder of his life.
Dad met Delores Plainse, a home economics teacher at Denmark High School, when he returned to the states after his military service. Delores, thinking Tom was a student because he looked so young, attempted to sell him a student ticket. This was a long-standing joke throughout their marriage. After dating for only nine months, Tom and Delores were married on October 2, 1953 at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. Upon Delores' death on July 11, 2015, they had been married 61 years. From their love, six children were born- Debby, Cindy, Kevin, Mary, Sue, and Charles.
Dad worked hard to support his family. After graduating from UW-River Falls in 1957, he taught agriculture at Holcombe High School for nine (9) years. In 1966, the family moved to Reedsburg where he was the voc-ag teacher for twelve (12) years. While in Reedsburg, he enjoyed advising students in FFA, keeping the score book for the varsity boys’ basketball team, and videotaping the varsity football games. Tom earned his Master’s Degree in Ag. Science from UW-Madison in 1970. In 1978, Tom accepted the position of Extension Agent for Kewaunee County. He served in this position for fifteen (15) years. Upon Dad’s retirement in 1993, a move back to Reedsburg to be closer to their grandchildren was insisted upon by Delores and Dad agreed provided they purchased season Badger football tickets. Tom and Delores traveled to fourteen states (Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota) as Badger fans supporting the team. Dad also loved to golf and bowl. Dad golfed on courses in Wisconsin, Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He hit his only hole in one on the 3rd hole of the Reedsburg Country Club. Dad often reflected on how these retirement years were some of the most enjoyable times of their marriage! However, to his children, Tom’s most meaningful accomplishment was the love and care he provided to their mother during her progression through the stages of Alzheimer’s until nursing care was necessary. He then spent hours with her daily until she rested in the arms of Jesus. Dad lived his wedding vow “in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish” without complaint and with the greatest steadfastness.
Dad also demonstrated to his children the importance of community service. He was a forty (40) year member of the Lions Clubs in Kewaunee and Reedsburg. He also served on the Library Board in Kewaunee and Reedsburg for a combined twenty three (23) years. He was the first president of the congregation at Grace Lutheran Church in Kewaunee. He also served as a member and president of the Church Council of St. John Lutheran Church in Reedsburg. He belonged to the American Legion and was a life-time member of the FFA. Lastly, Dad served sixteen (16) years on the Baraboo Campus Commission.
Dad was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his brother, James Geimer, and his brother-in-law, Clem Stiefvater. He is survived by his children and their families: Debby (Andy) Adams, Cindy (Tim) Zahrte, Kevin (Sue) Geimer, Mary (Theopolis) Smith, Sue (Joe) Berdan, and Charles (JoAnn) Geimer; his thirteen grandchildren, Casey Adams, Kelly Bugg, Megan Miller, Lane Zahrte, Thomas Geimer, Richard Geimer, Michael Smith, David Smith, AJ Berdan, James Berdan, Stacey Berdan, Elisabeth Geimer and Caleb Geimer, and his sister, Barbara Stiefvater. He is further survived by eight great-grandchildren, two sister-in-laws and other relatives and friends.
The family would like to express our appreciation to Dad’s former students who took the time over the years to thank him for his work as a teacher and advisor. It meant so much to him when he was told he made a difference in their lives. We would also like to thank the employees, nurses, and CNAs at the Reedsburg Area Medical Center for their care of our father during his last days. Thanks also to Dr. Spencer Fast and Dr. Bob Mortimore for their medical care and Pastor Beth Vogt for her spiritual care. Visitation will be held at the Farber Funeral Home, 2000 Viking Drive, Reedsburg, from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 1. The funeral service will be held on Friday, August 2 at 11:00 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church, 307 6th Street, Reedsburg, with visitation from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the service.
Memorials in lieu of flowers can be made to St. John Lutheran Church, the Reedsburg Area Medical Center Foundation, the Reedsburg Boys and Girls Club, the American Legion, or to a charity of one’s choice.