Date of death: 12/12/2011
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1969
Dr. William J. Tomcek passed into eternal life very early Monday morning. He fought a newly diagnosed and aggressive retroperitoneal sarcoma in an intense “Spartan- like” battle for his life, enduring complex surgeries with countless procedures and treatments after entering Aspirus Wausau Hospital on Oct. 5, 2011. He was never alone during this monumental 68-day hospital journey, being supported 24/7 by his loving and devoted family and uplifted by prayers from relatives and friends. He was surrounded by his family when he finally succumbed to respiratory failure and other complications. He was 68 years young.He was born on Aug. 12, 1943, to the late Paul and Theresa (Salzmann) Tomcek. His childhood years were spent on farms in the Wausau and Underhill areas growing his “country boy” appreciation for life.Dr. Bill (as he is affectionately known by patients, family and frends) married Mary Katherine Roble on Pearl Harbor Day. They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary with a blessing from Father Janusz of St. Therese Parish at the chapel in Aspirus Wausau Hospital on Dec. 7, 2011, during a noon Mass. She has always felt that it was a privilege, an honor and an utter joy to be married to him.From a young age and growing up in a rural environment of farm life, he developed a very dedicated work ethic. No job was beneath him and he engaged any type of work with enthusiasm and vigor. During college, he supported himself by taking jobs which he referred to as “go-fer” jobs. He graduated with a BA in Economics from UW-Stevens Point in December 1966. Because he no longer had a draft deferment as he just graduated and because he was the only 23-year-old from Oconto County that had not been accounted for, he knew that he had to report to the draft board. On Jan. 16, l967, just 10 days after he graduated from UWSP, Bill was at the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) in Milwaukee passing physical exams for the Army. He completed basic training and advanced infantry training at Fort Dix, N.J., and officer training school at Fort Benning, Ga. He arrived on Jan. 15, 1968, at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam; two weeks later, the Tet Offensive began. He served “boots on the ground” in reconnaissance until his discharge in 1968.Dr. Tomcek is in the Alumni class of 1969 at the St. Meinrad Seminary and College of Theology at St. Meinrad, Ind. He recalled with special fondness and deep reverence witnessing the Benedictine monks in nighttime candlelight funeral processions on “the Hill.He received a Master’s in Business Administration from UW-Milwaukee in 1971. He worked for a brief time in the personnel department of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Park Service. He eventually returned to school and found his professional passion in chiropractic care.Dr. Tomcek graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, in 1975. Later that same year, he established a chiropractic practice in Schofield. He practiced for 28 years, retiring in 2005. He was known by his colleagues and patients for his skill, certainty and compassion for chiropractic care. He mentored new chiropractors coming to the area and was valued as a fellow seeker of knowledge and dear friend. He was a member of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association.He was a member of Saint Agnes Catholic Parish, Weston. He sang in the Saint Agnes Choir as a tenor for over 35 years. He is remembered by choir members for his witty comments during choir practice and his special love of hot cinnamon rolls. He was a very active and competitive auction bidder during the annual church fundraiser, the Saint Agnes Sports Banquet.Dr. Bill was a very special gift to everyone. He always made time for his family and patiently taught them basic lessons of life (sometimes repeatedly). Even while doing fun things in life, he made them educational. He had a way of quickly sizing up a situation and deciding on the most effective and efficient way to proceed. He was known for his “can do-get it done” attitude, and his meticulous attention to detail was surpassed by none. He was kind, caring, generous and very patient with his children. He helped them to see and understand the good in every situation. His great sense of humor provided comfort and relief during many of life’s challenges.Dr. Bill was an inspiration to his children and was always willing to learn new things. He began piano lessons at age 45, learning the Suzuki Method along with his children. His children were proud of his piano accomplishments!Dr. Bill learned to fish and boat with his father in the Voyageur National Park, covering the extensive waterway between Minnesota and Canada. For well over 50 years, he returned each summer to his beloved Crane Lake area. He introduced his children, nieces, nephews and friends to his favorite pastime. He would take anyone fishing who wanted to learn. He respected that the fish were a bountiful resource from nature. He was expert in filleting the fish that he caught. He treated his family and friends to his many delicious “vermouth-soaked” fish fries. Dr. Bill loved the land in Hogarty. He was dedicated to the land, forest conservancy and animal habitat preservation. He constructed a shed along with the “Hogarty Hootch” there. He celebrated birthday parties there for himself and family members, fondly known as the “Shindig in the Shed” parties. His parties would include a fabulous meal and his friend “Bob-The Corn Man,” who would prepare and serve steam-roasted, hot, buttered and salted corn on the cob. He always supported and provided live polka music at the shed parties. He had a strong affection for farm auctions, John Deere tractors, bulldozers, 25-ton excavators and dump trucks. Dr. Tomcek was a lifetime member of Burns Post 388. He was proud to serve in the Honor Guard performing military rites for veterans. He served as Post Commander for the past three years. He will be sorely missed by the members of the local post and at the State VFW Headquarters level for his numerous contributions. Dr. Tomcek’s sons Cory and Jonathon served in the U.S. Army. His daughter Megan served in the U.S. Air Force. His daughter Kristina continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves.Along with other contributions to his community, he shared his experiences with high school students at D.C. Everest in the classroom setting by verbally presenting his war-time experiences. While in Vietnam, Dr. Tomcek wrote letters home to his parents. Thirty of his letters home were transcribed by his daughter Jenna and published in the section “Letters from Beyond: A Soldier’s Point of View from the Vietnam War,” published in the D.C. Everest High School book entitled “Vietnam Experience.Survivors include his wife, Mary Katherine Roble, Weston; two sons, Cory (Sarah) Kim-Tomcek of Hoboken, N.J., and Jonathon Tomcek, Weston; three daughters, Kristina (Joseph) Geissler of Aurora, Colo., Jenna Tomcek and Megan Tomcek, both of Weston; and one step-son, James Lee-Roble, Marion. Survivors include three brothers, Ron (Yvette) Tomcek, San Diego, Calif., Dr. Leonard (Linda) Tomcek, Hatley, Steve (Nancy) Tomcek, Green Bay; and two sisters, Mary (Tom) Miller, Marion, and Joan Moriarity, Chippewa Falls; and many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.May He bring us all together to everlasting life. From “Rule of Saint Benedict”Published in the Wausau Daily Herald from December 14 to December 16, 2011.