Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thomas F. Cotteleer

Thomas F. Cotteleer, 66, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, May 17, 2009.

Tom was born in Evanston, IL, on August 28, 1942, to the late Joseph and Margaret (nee: Vlach) Cotteleer. He lived in Barrington, Palatine and Prairie Grove, Illinois, before moving to Racine in 1994. Tom made his winter homes in Florida at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo and, most recently, at the Summit Greens Adult Community in Clermont.

On January 1, 1983, in Las Vegas, NV, he was united in marriage with Lonita “Lonnie” (nee: Serpe).

A 1960 graduate of Notre Dame High School of Niles, IL, Tom went on to earn his BA in Accounting from DePaul University in 1963 and his MBA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1964.

Early in his career Tom applied his superior accounting and business skills to the education of students at UW-Madison and DePaul University. Following a brief period spent at Inland Steel, he then found his true calling as a successful serial entrepreneur. Tom owned and operated many companies including Amer-Cal Inc., Horsing Around Farm, LBC Sports, Information Technology Group, and Performance Plus Inc..

Tom was a member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Roma Lodge, National Assn. of Accountants, SoFASST and "The Herd." A fan of anything fast, he thoroughly enjoyed drag racing and boating -- hobbies in which he passionately engaged from age 16 up through his record setting 10.86 second quarter mile run in his Impala at Great Lakes Dragaway on October 8, 2008. Tom also enjoyed world-wide exploration and, in particular, a good neighbourly game of Pinochle or Poker with his friends. Above all, he was a passionate family man who loved nothing more than having Lonnie at his side and “creating trouble” with his children and grandchildren.

Surviving are his loving wife of over 25 years, Lonnie; children, Jennifer Cotteleer, David (Amy) Cotteleer, Christopher (Tracie) Cotteleer, Mark (Angela) Cotteleer, James Randall “Randy” (Marisa) Cotteleer and John (Ellen) Cotteleer; grandchildren (who affectionately called him Papa, Bompa and Grampoggie), Reilly, Luke, Jakob, Caitlin, Ryan, Andrew, Matthew, Laine, April, Grace and Jaclyn; brother, Joseph (Marilyn) Cotteleer; sister, Sue (Jerry) Oxenford; sisters-in-law, Anita Serpe, Mary (Wayne) Barto, Angela (Wayne) Kruzel, Florence (James) Orlik, Rose Ann Serpe and Camille (John) Becker; brothers-in-law, Mark (Roberta) Serpe, Michael (Diana) Serpe and Lawrence (Patty Harris) Serpe, and other relatives and friends too numerous to mention by name.

In addition to his parents, Tom was preceded in death by his former wife, Joyce (nee: Docka) Cotteleer; brother-in-law, James Serpe; and by Lonnie’s parents, Samuel and Julia (nee: Haupt) Serpe.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, May 21, 2009, at 10 a.m. in St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 6400 Spring St., with Rev. William J. Dietzler officiating. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, Hwy 32. Visitation will be in the funeral home on Wednesday from 3 – 8 p.m. (Roma Lodge service at 5:45 p.m.) and in the church on Thursday from 9-10 a.m. In memory of Tom, memorials to the Rush University Medical Center - Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund, 1700 W. Van Buren, Suite 250, Chicago, IL 60612, have been suggested.

A heartfelt note of thanks to Dr. Michael P. Mullane, Dr. Gregory M. Culen, Hospice Alliance, and Tracy McGloun of BrightStar Healthcare for all the compassionate care and support during this past year. Also, special thanks to our wonderful neighbors and friends for the many acts of kindness extended during a difficult time. May God bless all of you!

Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home & Crematory
4600 County Line Rd., Racine 262-552-9000


Anonymous said...

Lonnie and all the Cotteleer "Kids",
Tom will be greatly missed. His courage, dignity and beautiful spirit thoughout this past year shows what a wonderful human being he really was. I cherish the many times he made me laugh and his wild sense of humor! (even when the joke was on me!)I know he is up in Heaven with Jimmy plotting new pranks! May all the warm memories sustain you in the weeks ahead! We love you all!
Camille & John Becker

Diana said...

Lonnie and family,

It was my pleasure to know Tom for a short time. He had a very kind spirit. Being a massage therapist we have a way of knowing who is in touch with themselves and who is not. He was for sure a real and true man and was very genuine in all he said and did. May God Bless all of you in your time of sorrow.

Rita said...

Lonnie and Family,
Although I did not get to know Tom personally, Wayne did. Tom played at Wayne's Poker table for a time and then beside him at another table. Tom will missed by the Poker Gang for all the "wit" and "wisdom" he imparted, whether wanted or not! He was great neighbor and friend to all who knew him.
May the memories and love you shared with Tom keep him close to you and help you in the weeks, months and years to follow.
Your across the "Wayne's Canyon" buddies
Wayne & Rita

tim shepard said...

we will miss you tom,i always injoyed talking cars with you.

Brian Bechtel said...

Dear The Cotteleers-
My heart is broken for your family. Tom was a true gift to this world. I had only met Tom a few times but felt his influence strongly through my brother, Blake. Blake always spoke as highly as one could about Tom and saw him as a true friend and mentor- and will truly miss him. The way Tom spoke about his wife and family was inspirational. I will keep you all in my prayers...Tom will never be forgotten by our family!
Brian Bechtel