Thomas M. Kamm, age 63, of Erin Prairie Township, WI passed suddenly on the evening of October, 29, 2012 after collapsing in his favorite chair, following his favorite meal, at his favorite kitchen table, in midst of a puff of smoke, engaging in conversation with some of his favorite people.
Tom was born August 19, 1949 in Clear Lake, WI to Max & Mathilda (Holldorf) Kamm. He was welcomed by brother Donovan. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Glenwood City and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Forest. He grew up in the Glenwood City area and began his public schooling at the Camp 9 Country School, and that set the stage for a very adventurous youth. In 1967, he graduated from Glenwood City High School, and while already milking cows and farming he also bartended, drove milk truck and installed milking equipment. On April 17, 1971 Tom married Carol Palewicz at St. John’s Catholic Church in Glenwood City. Each would serve as an anchor to the other for the next 41 years of marriage. A son, Lance was born in 1974 and in 1975 he purchased his farm in Erin Prairie and that would the framework for his life until the time of his death. He milked registered Holstein cows and grew corn and alfalfa, often sharing the work with his brother Donovan who farmed a mile up the road. In 1978 his second son, Ryan Thomas was born. During the years on the farm, he employed well over 20 people and most of whom shared his family home and became members of a large extended family. It’s strange; it seemed too often his best cow had a bull calf, or it rained on the hay he had cut the day before. But the foundation Tom built with those things he could control left him a life of immeasurable success evidenced by the friendships he has left behind. After a barn fire in 2000, Tom helped his two sons reestablish the herd of Holstein cows, serving as a guide and mentor for the last 12 years of his life. Besides the farm, he set his own goals on opening a repair shop that has flourished serving many local farmers. It developed into one of his greatest joys and a true life passion. Additionally, he worked as an artificial inseminator which combined two of his favorite things; talking with good people and seeing good cows.
Tom’s free spirited early years gave way to his commitment to family, friends and farming. Tom’s kitchen table and his shop tool served as a backdrop for countless hours of discussion about farming, school, money and economics, football, tractors and various other topics of the day. His greatest talent was his ability to engage people of all kinds. He knew when to speak and when to listen; he had a gift for making all feel comfortable and valued. His quick wit, intelligence, thoughtfulness, and the playful banter of his conversations will be deeply missed. An avid fisherman Tom most enjoyed the lakes and rivers of Canada, but also liked to wet a line on Lake Wapogasset. His fishing stories were rarely about the big one that got away, but more of the journey and his traveling companions.
For the last 38 years he molded his family, taking great pride in the successes and accomplishments of his sons, their wives and most recently his grandchildren. His grandchildren will mostly miss playing dodge ball with grandpa, cleaning his vise in the shop, and being teased relentlessly. Tom can occasionally be remembered enjoying a pack of cigarettes, an angel food cake and a custard pie. Sometimes all before noon.
Tom is preceded in death by his parents.
Tom is survived by wife Carol Kamm; sons Lance Thomas Kamm and wife Shannon, Ryan Thomas Kamm and wife Erin; grandchildren Sophia and Stella Kamm; brother Donovan Kamm and wife Karen. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends, co-workers and clients.
Funeral services were held Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 at St. John’s Catholic Church with Dale Riba officiating. Disposition will be at the Eau Claire Memorial Crematory. Local arrangements by the Anderson Funeral Home in Glenwood City, WI.