THOMAS DAVID "TR" REINERT

Obituary
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THOMAS DAVID "TR" REINERT La CROSSE, WI

Thomas David "TR" Reinert, 72, passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer on Monday August 4, 2014, with his wife at his side.  Tom was born in Hammond, IN on November 18th, 1941 to Rose and Joseph Reinert.  God created a one-of-a-kind when he created Tom. He had five sisters and one brother.  He was raised in a fun-loving German Catholic family in the town of Hammond. His family taught him faith that would sustain him throughout the rest of his life. He was a good and caring person. Tom went to St Joseph’s grade school and graduated from Bishop Noll High School in 1960.  In school, he enjoyed sports and extracurricular activities. He was known as a "cut-up" and was well-liked by those around him. His dad died when he was a senior in high school, a loss that impacted him greatly.  Upon graduation, Tom joined the Navy for four years and saw the world from the decks of ships. He served on the SS Tender, repairing telescopes on various tours of duty. In the Navy, Tom fell in love with learning and began attending Purdue Calumet in Hammond, Indiana, majoring in Communication Studies and Theater.  He recalls sweating bullets when he wrote his first 500 word essay; he would later go on to become an excellent and proficient writer and communicator. He held many leadership roles in college, his church and in the community.  He enjoyed many years as a leader in the Single Adult Club in the northwest region of Indiana and was the life of the party. Tom continued on to graduate school at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and successfully completed a Ph.D. in Communication Studies. Tom was proud to be the first person in his immediate family to receive a college diploma, let alone an advanced degree. He passed his love of learning on to his children. Tom met the love of his life, June, in graduate school.   After a long, long courtship, and much procrastination; they were wed on June 9, 1972 in Hammond, IN.  When Tom proposed,  June said that it wouldn’t be dull and that was certainly an understatement.   They had 42 years of fun and a lot of passionate discussions.   June and Tom had three daughters, who brought them great joy.  Their girls are strong-willed, value-driven, and give of themselves to a variety of different causes.  They were at his side in his waning days, providing support, love, and strength. After graduate school, Tom became the Director of the Theater at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and was instrumental in opening this brand new theater facility. Tom and family then moved to La Crosse, WI where Tom became the Director of the Fine Arts Center at Viterbo College.  He was also an administrator with Boy Scouts of America. Tom taught graduate courses in Winona and finished his career at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse teaching communication and speech.  He was always and foremost a teacher by trade and avocation. Tom was involved with numerous community organizations in La Crosse.  He was a proud Rotarian with the Downtown Rotary, serving as President, a Paul Harris Fellow, and as an outbound coordinator for the Rotary Youth Exchange. He served on the board of Riverfest and was the 1989 Commodore of the festival.  Tom was involved with the local Mardi Gras celebration and became the First Rex of Mardi Gras.  He was on the La Crosse Visitor’s and Convention Bureau board for a number of years, the Community Theater Board, and the La Crosse Symphony Board.  One of his proudest contributions was to the Family and Children’s Center of La Crosse when he served on their Board as a staunch supporter of their mission. He is survived by his wife of 42 years,  June, and 5 sisters: Mary Ann  of California;  Dorothy Tobin , Pat Homrich, and Pam Danko of Hammond, Indiana;  and Jeanne of Michigan.  He is survived by two brothers-in-law, Walter Barber of California and Dennis Danko of Hammond. He is further survived by one sister-in-law, Mary Belton Shaw of Mt. Vernon, OH.  He is survived by his children, Mandy Reinert Nash (John Reinert Nash), Maggie Justen (Michael Justen), and Rose Reinert-Allen. He is survived by nine grandchildren: Nina, Emma, Owen, Sean, Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Nakai, and Collin. He was preceded in death by his brother Peter and his parents, as well as many other relatives. The family would like to thank Amy and Scott Dunham, their neighbors, who were so helpful with the maintenance of their home through Tom’s illness.  Also we would like to thank Dr. Gill, Dr. Furlong, Dr. Olsen and Dr. Mannion; as well as all of the staff at Mayo Clinic/Franciscan Healthcare and the Cancer Center for all of their loving care of Tom throughout his health challenges these last few years.   A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, August 8, 2014, in Roncalli Newman Parish. Rev. James Kurzynski will officiate with burial to be held in the Catholic Cemetery, La Crosse, WI. Family and friends may visit from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, August 7, 2014 at Roncalli Newman Parish, 1732 State St., La Crosse, WI, with a Prayer Service to be held at 3:00 p.m. Family and friends may also visit from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Mass in the Roncalli Newman Center on Friday. The Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Homes are assisting the family with arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Roncalli Newman Center Building Fund or the Family and Children’s Center in Tom’s name. Online condolences may be made at: www.blaschkeschneider.com
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Published in The Times on Aug. 7, 2014
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