February 25, 1944 - January 8, 2019
Thomas Charles Wilson, 74, lived an incredible life and passed on to the next one on January 8, 2019. His last moments were filled with grace and laughs and love and music and ice cream, surrounded by his dearest friends and family—exactly how God intended.
He came into the world in Des Moines, IA as the only son of Thomas Arthur and Elaine Harter Wilson. He met his best friend Chuck Silio in the concert band at Dowling HS.
He went to the University of Notre Dame and then to the University of Iowa. He lived on hamburgers and met the love of his life, Anne Leute of Dubuque—the first woman who laughed at all his jokes. They shared a passion for making the world a better and kinder place, and were married more than 52 years when he passed.
Tom got his master’s degree at the University of Chicago and then in 1968, he and Anne moved to Canada. After earning his doctorate at the University of Waterloo, Tom taught computer science at the University of Guelph for over 30 years. In the decades they lived in Ontario, he and Anne made many friends and raised their three children, Amy, Charlie, and Brendan, on generosity, faith, music, laughter, learning, hamburgers and ice cream.
He traveled with his family all over North America and with Anne to China, Uganda, Europe, Maryland and finally Wisconsin. He played jazz piano, wrote an epic book on faith, told lengthy yarns, frequently missed the exits, wore nerdy t-shirts, raised up everyone he met, and lived his faith every day. His care for Anne for nearly two decades, as her dementia overtook their lives, was a shining example of fidelity and love. She was precious to him to his very last breath.
Tom doted on his grandchildren Ellen, Marcellus, Thomas, Patrick, Peter, Damien and baby Anna, who was with him at the moment of his passing into grace. He loved his daughters-in-law Julia and Amy P. and his son-in-law Frank. He was immensely proud of his children and believed they were his greatest and most humbling achievement. He cared about creation, great music, his faith, kindness, good beer, bad jokes, migrants and refugees, Notre Dame football, his friends and family, and finding God’s joy in everything he could.
Tom’s earthly journey is done, but he is already in the palm of God’s hand—where he is surely making room for others to join him when they meet again.
Funeral services will take place at 10:30 AM on Friday, January 11 at Mary Mother of the Church Parish in La Crosse, WI. A memorial service will be held in the coming months for friends and family in Ontario and Maryland.
Tom’s family would like to express its profound appreciation to the wonderful friends, relatives, and Mayo Clinic staff who cared for him in his final days. In honor of Tom’s life, please consider a gift to either Seven Dolors Catholic Mission – Fort Totten supporting the Spirit Lake Dakota Reservation, or Street Business School supporting women in Uganda.