B. Thomas Wanta
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Wanta, B. Thomas B. Thomas ("Tom") Wanta, 64, died peacefully on November 6, 2016, at home in Wauwatosa, WI. He is survived by his wife, Sherry (née Gordon), and sons Shawn (Patrick) and Brendan (Kelly). Tom demonstrated an unwavering commitment to helping delinquent youth turn their lives around during his four-decades-long career with Milwaukee County social services. He served as Superintendent of the Milwaukee County Juvenile Detention Center for over two decades before becoming the top official at the County's Delinquency and Court Services Division and Chief Juvenile Probation Officer. The Public Policy Forum awarded Tom its 2015 Norman N. Gill Award for Individual Excellence, and the State Public Defender's Office awarded Tom and his detention-center staff its 2011 Wisconsin Cares About Kids Award. Tom was an enthusiastic sports fan, who loved coaching youth sports as much as watching Packers and Badger football. A celebration of Tom's life will be held on Friday, November 11, 2016 at Kneeland-Walker House in Wauwatosa from 4:00 7:00PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Tom's name to the ALS Association through its website or a charity of your choice.

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Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Nov. 9 to Nov. 11, 2016.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
NOV
11
Celebration of Life
04:00 - 07:00 PM
Kneeland-Walker House
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Memories & Condolences
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25 entries
November 23, 2016
Sherry, I am so sorry to hear of Tom's passing. My thoughts are with you.
Pat (Canney) Church
November 15, 2016
Sherry, my condolences on the loss of Tom. Pat Bridgman passed this sad news to me. Cathy Thomas, from your Fireman's Fund days.
Cathy Thomas
November 13, 2016
Dear Sherry and Family,
I minister to the kids at the CDC and knew Tom for many many, years. He was a blessing to everyone he met.
Tom was an advocate of ministry for the kids and because of that I know he heard he heard the Lord welcome him with: 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
May the Peace of Christ be with all of you!
Deacon Dick Niggemann
niggemannr@archmil.org
Deacon Dick Niggemann
November 13, 2016
Dear Sherry and family,
My sincere condolences and prayers to you and the entire Wanta family. I was blessed to meet Tom many ago. I have served in prison ministry for the past 20 years. During this time I also ministered to the kids at the CDC for 13 years. Tom welcomed me and was an advocate for all the kids and for religious ministry to the kids. I had the highest respect for his honesty, integrity and ability to get things done. He is missed...but I know he is with the Lord!
Deacon Dick Niggemann
niggemannr@archmil.org
Deacon Dick Niggemann
November 11, 2016
Tom will be missed by many
Team Dubinski
November 11, 2016
Sherry,
Like other WHS classmates I was sad to hear of Tom's passing. My heart goes out to you and your son's. I remember the teenage Tom through photos in scrapbooks, yearbooks and reunion talk. Yet it is the years between then & now that are so remarkable. Tom's life is a great example of courage, love & dedication to his family and his profession. Denise
Denise Banda
November 11, 2016
Sherry,

I was so deeply saddened to hear of Tom''s passing. I have the fondest memories of you and Tom and the "Enderis Boys": Ponik, Johnson, Stehling, Scherff. . . . Take comfort in your family and friends, and know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless.
Marcia Snow
November 11, 2016
Sherry,
I am saddened to learn the news of Tom's passing. Our paths crossed several years ago at a mutual friends retirement from the JDC and enjoyed catching up then. I have fond memories of our HS days and all that knew of him at the JDC spoke so highly of him and his dedication to friends and work. I trust your life together produced many many fond memories for you to recall. Thoughts and prayers and for you and your family.
Tom Spiros
November 10, 2016
Sherry,

Not sure if you will remember me or not. I was a senior at Washington when you were a junior. I went with Pat Volkmann during my senior year and remember all the good times we had with you, Pat, Sue Seidel, Jean Schulz and Jean Schimmek. My heart goes out to you on your loss.

John Schultz
November 10, 2016
My sincere condolences, prayers and love goes out to the Wanta family. I worked with Tom for over 3 years. I respected his honesty, determination, and drive to get things done. Tom would not let anything get in his way. I missed him dearly when he retired, the laughter and tough conversations. My selfish self was saddened and heartbroken to hear the news of his passing, but I know he has earned his wings. Now, he can rest in peace.

Many Blessings & Love
Danyelle Brock
November 10, 2016
Sherry,

Linda and I were shocked to hear of Tom's passing. Our hearts go out to you and your family. May you find comfort in the memories you hold dear.

Mike and Linda Mejchar
Mike Mejchar
November 10, 2016
To Sherry, Shawn & Brendan,

My sincere condolences to you. Tom has been in my prayers for a while, as he will continue to be. I shall miss him, and that wonderful smile. He was a special man with extraordinary abilities. Leadership, conviction, honesty, integrity, and that gift of humor. He truly cared about others and making this a better place to live. I know I am a better person for having known him.

Ed Zlotocha
November 10, 2016
To sherry n family Mr Tom was a great person he was my family, my friend n a great leader thk u 4 letting me care 4 him everyday I miss him so much rip Mr Tom
Phyllis Carter
November 10, 2016
Dear Sherry, I heard of Tom's passing from Chuck Johnson. My deepest condolences. It's been a long time but I still have great memories of our Washington and UWM days. Our prayers are with you and your family. God bless
Tom Ponik
November 10, 2016
Brendan:

My deepest sympathy to you and your family. May you find comfort in your memories of good times spent with your Dad.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
November 10, 2016
Dear Sherry and Family,

So sorry for your loss. Tom was a wonderful Classmate, and so were you.

Keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

Donald & Cheryl Green Class of 1970
Donald Green
November 9, 2016
Dear Sherry and Family: We are so sad. Although it's been many years since we had the amazing pleasure and pure fun of being neighbors on Stickney Ave., we have kept you in our hearts and cherished the times when we could touch base, talk or get together like my 50th birthday when you guys flew to Florida to deliver birthday wishes as a BIG surprise. Now, we hold you close in spirit and grieve the loss from this planet of a very special person.
Cindy Willson
November 9, 2016
Tom was a man of compassion and integrity who believed that every youth has the potential to change and make something of their lives! He will be truly missed.
Wendi Ehrman
November 9, 2016
Sherry.....my heart is breaking for you and your family. Blessings and hugs....Karen Geis
November 9, 2016
Tom was a great leader, mentor and friend, who often made me laugh at the most inappropriate times! We will continue the work he was so passionate about and will always strive to do our #1 job, which was to make him look good.
~Kelly
Kelly Pethke
November 9, 2016
My sincere sympathy to Tom's family and close friends. I worked with Tom at JDC. I worked for MCW and provided medical care. He was so supportive of all the needs of the youth. He was one of the kindest, most humble of men I have ever known. If ever again shall this community be so fortunate to be served by a man of such greatness. No doubt there are countless lives forever changed by his work. I feel blessed to have known him. He has certainly earned his wings. ALS sucks. He fought it well, dignified and serving this community to the end. My father died in 2012 of ALS at age 62. Just as my father was very ill I realized that Tom was ill, it broke my heart. My father had bulbar onset ALS and died within 11 months of diagnosis. I am glad that Tom had a slower course. Though I know that no course of ALS is an easy course. I'm so, so very sorry for your loss of such a special person. I will always think of him with fondest. I pray they find a cure soon.
melissa Vukovich
November 9, 2016
I will never forget you. You are and always be in my heart. Love you. Your little sis Tobie.
October Dymond
November 9, 2016
Sherry,

So Sorry for your loss. Keeping you & your family in our thoughts & prayers. In Sympathy, Deb & Tony Cuda
Deb & Tony Cuda
November 9, 2016
Dear Sherry & family,
Thinking of you and hoping that time will bring you comfort. My sincerest sympathies, Jean Fischer(former co-worker of Firemans Fund ins. Co.)
Jean Fischer
November 9, 2016
Tom will be greatly missed by so many people. Tom was an incredible leader, mentor, and friend. He put his heart and soul into helping youth be able to turn their lives around.
Tom, your management team will always make you look good and make you proud of us because it is because of you that we are so incredible. Thank you for believing in us. One thing will not change- I still do not like Jackson!
Melissa
Melissa Graham
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