Nov. 22, 2016 – West Bend, WI – It’s with a heavy heart to report the unexpected death of Tom Strachota of West Bend.
Strachota reportedly died of a massive heart attack on Monday while playing tennis. He was 63.
Employees at Dairyland Seed are in a state of shock. “We don’t want to believe it but yes it’s true,” said the woman who answered the phone at the business on Highway H in Kewaskum.
Strachota had served as General Manager for Dairyland Seed, a business started by Tom’s grandfather, Simon, in 1907 and acquired by Dow AgroSciences in August, 2008.
Strachota is husband to former Assembly Majority Leader Pat Strachota.
Tom and Pat have been stalwarts of the community serving on a number of boards including the United Way of Washington County. They have also been active in the West Bend Rotary, Friends of Regner Park and Enchantment in the Park.
West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow had worked with Tom and his wife Pat in a number of capacities over the years.
“Tom’s passing is a loss for his family, this community and anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him,” said Sadownikow. “He was an honest man of high integrity and unblemished morals.”
Assembly Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend) followed in Pat Strachota’s footsteps in the legislature. He said “Tom and Patty were a great tag team. “Ever since Patty stepped down as Majority Leader then she and Tom joined together to lead the United Way Campaign,” he said. “That’s one thing they did together to make the community better.”
Big hearts, great family, warm and welcoming have been words used to describe the Strachotas.
The Gonring family from the West Bend Elevator had worked in the same business as the Strachota family. “I worked more so with Tom’s dad Orville but I knew Tom and really liked him,” said Dave Gonring. “We always held the Strachota family in high regard.”
Jeff Szukalski from Jeff’s Spirits on Main worked with the Strachotas on a number of local community projects. “Tom and his family have given back to the community 10-times over on everything,” he said.
“They bettered everything including building better business in the area, giving back to the different charities, supporting his wife and getting a better a political stance for Wisconsin and the nation and he’s always been a great person to be around socially.”
Family, friend and community is what Tom Strachota has always been about, according to Szukalski.
Lori Yahr with Enchantment in the Park echoed Szukalski’s statement.
“Tom and Patty have been a huge supporters of Enchantment in the Park as well as other community events,” said Yahr. “They are a part of the original Founders group and have been actively involved since 2009. They are such wonderful people. Tom with his commanding voice, one of a kind! Our thoughts and prayers are extended to his family.”
In 2015 Tom and Pat were Co-Chairs of the United Way Campaign in Washington County.
“Tom is one of our favorite people with a great sense of humor,” said Gunter Woog. “We feel very badly for Patty and family another great and favorite person. We have many fond memories with both of them.”
According to the Dairyland Seed webpage “Tom joined his father Orville and mother Marie in the business in 1976. He served as CEO from 1994 until the firm’s purchase by Dow AgroSciences in August 2008. As General Manager, Tom’s primary responsibility is to maintain the family culture at Dairyland and to grow the Dairyland Seed Midwest Dealer network.”
The funeral for Tom Strachota is available here.
A request to the community to keep Patty and the Strachota family in your prayers.
Photo courtesy the United Way of Washington County.