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