Thomas “Tom” W. Lutz, 83, Oconto Falls, died Saturday, September 4, 2021 at Bellin Hospital in Oconto following a short illness.
Tom was born in Minnesota but was raised on the family dairy farm outside Oconto Falls and it was there that he learned the value of hard work from his parents, John and Marcella Lutz.
As a student at Oconto Falls High School, Tom was active in football, track, dramatics and forensics, FFA, and the school play. He was also elected sophomore class president and junior Prom King. He graduated from OFHS in 1956. After two years of study at UW-Platteville, he enlisted in the US Army, where he continued to develop his leadership skills and earned the rank of E-5 Platoon Sergeant.
After returning to Oconto Falls in 1962, Tom completed his teaching certification at Marinette Normal School and began his career in education as a sixth grade teacher at Abrams School. On November 30, 1963 he married Karen Rabas at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Spruce. Tom continued to take courses, completing his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UW-Platteville in 1968. In 1970, Tom was named principal at Abrams School and soon added the responsibilities of principal at Little Suamico School. He completed his Masters degree in Educational Administration and Supervision at UW-Milwaukee in 1975.
As principal, Tom continued to touch the lives of students and teachers each day. He was well-respected by the students for his fair mindedness and his ability to make learning fun for everyone. Many of his students went on to successful careers, often giving him credit for being an excellent role model and mentor.
Tom played a significant role in the remodeling and expansion of Abrams School, which included returning the school bell to its rightful spot in the new bell tower. With the completion of Abrams School, he successfully blended the students and staff from both elementary schools and created a positive learning environment for all.
Tom retired in 1998 after 35 years with the Oconto Falls School District. He continued to be active in the community as a member of the Oconto Falls Lions Club, volunteering his time and energy to a variety of community projects.
Dedicated to education, Tom and his family established the annual John and Marcella (Murphy) Lutz Memorial Scholarship, given for the first time to a member of the OFHS Class of 2006.
Tom dedicated his entire career to educating children in the Oconto Falls School District. In 2006, he was inducted in the Oconto Falls High School Wall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Karen (Rabas) Lutz, one daughter Michelle (Lutz) Grenke; two grandsons Gabe Grenke and David Grenke; one sister, Judi (Craig) Tanner; one sister-in-law, Gail (Rabas) Offerman; nieces and nephews Grant (Amy) Offerman, Lance (Madian) Offerman, Vincent (Sandy) Rudolph, John (Jennifer) Rudolph, Sue (Dennis) Coty, Scott Tanner, and other great nieces and nephews; their extended family includes three foreign exchange students Patricia Rolon Pereira (Brazil), Misa Ito (Japan), and Joern Meissner (Germany), and special friends Jamie Kuhn and Corey Rank.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Marcella Lutz, father-in-law and mother-in-law Fred and Lillian Rabas, his sister Connie (Lutz) Carter and brothers-in-law, Donald Carter and Bob Christ.
Visitation with the urn present will take place after 3:00 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021 at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls until the time of service. A service of remembrance will be held 7:00 pm Thursday at the funeral home with Deacon Peter Gard officiating.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials may be made to the Lutz Family Scholarship Fund.