Kretschmer Jr., Thomas V., Saginaw, Michigan


Passed away on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014. Tom Kretschmer was a father, a grandfather, a teacher, an outdoorsman, a brother to seven, a golfer, a fisherman, a skier, a cook, and a friend. Tom was a big brother who captained both the football and basketball teams at St. Mary’s Cathedral. He was the teacher who never let on to his students what a big softie he was inside. He was the retiree who turned 10 again the minute he stepped into Walt Disney World. We already miss him greatly. Tom was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on September 24, 1945 soon after his father, Dr. Thomas V. Kretschmer Sr. returned from the medical corps after the war. As mentioned, Tom was the first of eight children. Growing up on Meredith Street and later, Remington Street meant large family cookouts, pool parties, toboggan runs at Hoyt Park, summers at East Tawas and Christmases where the food, wine, presents and love were plentiful. Tom attended St. Mary’s Cathedral School, graduating in 1963. His size, ability and leadership skills made him a natural on both the court and the field. Tom went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1967. Tom also earned a Masters in Education from Saginaw Valley State University. Tom was a well liked and congenial teacher in the Hemlock school system for over 30 years, where his many students today remember a gruff but caring instructor who was eager to help them discover and appreciate the world of science. He also was the golf coach at Hemlock High School and was brave and patient enough to teach driver’s training for many years. Tom and his wife Diane Van Vlaenderen Kretschmer had two boys, Matthew Thomas and Mark Alan. Growing up in Michigan meant countless winter ski weekends at Boyne and summer weeks relaxing on a lake. A favorite retreat was the coast of Maine, where Tom and his family were to spend 30 summer vacations enjoying friends, food and the scenery of the East Coast. Two other favorite spots were Wyoming and Montana, where Tom enjoyed the simple pleasures of fishing, kayaking and camping. Above all destinations, Tom loved Walt Disney World, even moving there upon retirement to live in a Disney engineered town. Tom was excited to work in Golf Operations on the courses of Disney World, sometimes filling out a foursome for famous guests such as Scotty Bowman. Tom is survived by his son Matt and grandson Ryan of Dearborn, MI, and his son Mark and wife Leah, along with their twins Cal and Davis of Beaverton, OR. He is also survived by his mother, Ruth Stangel Kretschmer of Saginaw and seven brothers and sisters: Mary (Mike) Klein of Saginaw; John (Nora) Kretschmer of South Haven, MI; Ann (Russ) Surgeson of Saginaw; Connie Kretschmer of San Marcos, TX; Charlie (Dinah) Kretschmer of Northville, MI; Jane Bonk of Saginaw; and Liz (Tom) Kaiser of Surbiton, England. Tom was predeceased by his father, Dr. Thomas V. Kretschmer Sr. in 1983. Tom is also survived by 16 nieces and nephews who will sincerely miss the easy going good humor of Uncle Tommy. Tom’s family would like to express heartfelt gratitude for the caregivers at Meadow View Manor for their outstanding concern and compassion during a difficult time. We would also like to give a special recognition to Scott Reis for his cheerful and unflinching care and support during this past year. A Funeral Liturgy will take place on Monday, February 10, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 5380 State Street. Rev. Fr. Randy Kelly will officiate. Cremation has taken place. A celebration of Tom’s life will take place later this summer. Friends are welcome to visit at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of Mass. If you would like to remember Tom, please consider a gift to The Brain Injury Association of Michigan, 7305 Grand River Ave., Suite 100, Brighton, MI 48114, www.biami.org/donate. Or, you may consider The Hemlock Middle School Washington DC Fund, 525 N. Maple St, Hemlock, MI 48626. Arrangements have been entrusted to Deisler Funeral Home, 2233 Hemmeter Road. Please share your thoughts and memories with the family at the church or online at www.deislerfuneralhome.com.