Thomas Gerlach

Thomas E. Gerlach, age 84, of Hudson, WI passed away on March 31, 2022, at his home while surrounded by family.

Tom was born on December 3, 1937, to William and Gertrude (Buege) Gerlach. As a young man growing up in North Hudson, he enjoyed raising rabbits and worked at the local Solveig’s grocery store. He attended Hudson High School until he began working at Andersen Windows at the tender age of 15 years.  In 1954 he joined the National Guard. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1958 where he served as an electrician on the aircraft carriers Shangri-La and Intrepid.  In 1962 he returned to work at Andersen Windows. When he retired, in 1997, he was honored as the longest standing employee with a total of 42 years spent in the factory.

Tom was a skilled craftsman and a talented woodworker. He gifted his handmade creations – baby cradle, toy boxes, hope chest, a grandfather clock — to his family.  He was the definition of a “jack of all trades.” He could fix almost anything around the home or anything automotive related when he set his mind to it. He loved keeping things meticulously organized, and rarely threw anything out knowing he could repurpose it later. Tom had a jovial personality and enjoyed music, the banjo and the blues, dancing a waltz or the polka, and, of course, a good apricot brandy. He enjoyed flower gardening and was a bit of a history buff. He spent time reading historical fiction and his Bible. Most importantly, he was a fantastic father, grandfather, great-grandfather, sibling, friend, and a terrific husband.

Tom was married to Kathleen Jensen in 1965 and their family included 7 loving children. He was united in marriage to Odeline Wilkerson in 1987 and happily welcomed another 6 children to the fold.

He is survived by his wife, Odeline, his sister, Myrtle Spielman, and his many children: Laurie (Dale) Van Sky, Donald Parr, Larry Tucker, Cherrie St. Germain, Herman Traetow, Gina (Eugene) Honzik, Suzanne Gerlach (Allen Freiermuth), Thomas (Melissa) Gerlach, Kenny Traetow, Matthew (Maria) Gerlach, Belinda Cash, and Martha Gerlach along with 31 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his parents, siblings — Philip Gerlach, Ruth Gerlach, Robert Gerlach, Arlene Brown, Willis Schmidt — and by his daughter, Debra Traetow, and granddaughter, Michelle.

Memorial Service for Tom will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 520 S. 11th St., Hudson with a gathering held one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

Services entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson, WI. (715) 386-3725.


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