Nov. 22, 2016 – West Bend, WI – Thomas Gregory Strachota, age 63, of West Bend, passed away following a sudden heart attack on Monday, November 21, 2016.
Tom was born the fifth child of the late Orville and Marie (nee Weiss) Strachota on January 14, 1953 in St. Kilian. He attended St. Mary’s Springs Academy in Fond du Lac graduating in 1971. From there Tom went on to earn a BA in marketing from the University of Notre Dame in 1975 and an MBA from Ohio State University in 1976.
Tom married the love of his life and his college sweetheart Patty Nemastil on June 24, 1977 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Gates Mills, Ohio. Together they moved to West Bend where Tom began his career working in the family business at Dairyland Seed alongside his parents, while raising their four children. He served as CEO for over 20 years and his leadership helped Dairyland Seed become a world class plant breeding organization.
Throughout his career Tom was involved in various leadership roles within the seed industry, and the American Seed Trade Association. He was an emeritus member of the University of Wisconsin’s College of Agriculture and Life Science’s (CALS) Board of Visitors, and in 2002 he received the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Tom served on several community and business boards near West Bend including most recently as the 2015 Co-Chair of the United Way of Washington County with his wife Patty. His family is so very proud of all of his accomplishments, and the wonderful example he set.
Tom was a devoted Catholic, husband, father, and grandfather who always made time for everyone else. He coached every one of his children in the YMCA soccer program and never missed one of their games. Education was of utmost importance to him, and he made sure all of his children graduated from college. He loved spending time with his family in Northern Wisconsin. Tom enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golfing. He loved the Packers and Notre Dame football, and was a proud member of “Club Inc.”
Tom is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Patty; his children, Elizabeth (Peter) Benz of Wauwatosa, TJ (Katie) Strachota of Cedarburg, Margaret (Ben) Grunst of Milwaukee, and Kathleen (Andy) Kohl of Wauwatosa; his grandchildren, Sophia, James, and Robert Benz with one on the way, Lauren, Patrick, and Joey Strachota, Daniel and Benjamin Grunst, and Johnny Kohl; his sisters, Suzanne Strachota of Kewaskum, Jane (Fred) Wade of Wellington, FL, and Mary Kay Strachota of Milwaukee; his brothers, Steve (Sharon) Strachota of Kewaskum and John Strachota of Hubertus. Tom is further survived by other relatives, his Dairyland Seed family, and many close friends.
In addition to his parents Orville and Marie; Tom was preceded in death by his father-in-law, James Nemastil.
A Mass of Christian Burial in honor of Tom will be held on Monday, November 28, 2016 at 6 p.m. at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church (1025 S. 7th Ave. West Bend). Visitation will be at the church on Monday from 2:00 pm until 5:30 pm. Burial will be in Holy Angels Cemetery.
Memorials to the St. Frances Cabrini Education Endowment Fund or to the charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated by the family.
The Myrhum Patten Miller & Kietzer Funeral Homes have been entrusted with Tom’s arrangements.
Charitable donations may be made to:
St. Frances Cabrini Education Endowment Fund