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OBITUARY: Thomas “Tom” Jerome Haelfrisch

As the sun rays shined down on his family farm in rural Brillion, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a Farmer.”

Thomas “Tom” Jerome Haelfrisch, 62, was born January 16, 1958, in Manitowoc, son of the late Fritz and Marian (Ebert) Haelfrisch. He entered his heavenly home after a courageous battle with cancer on June 18, 2020. 

He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Reedsville and graduated from Reedsville High School in 1976. On November 10th, 1979 he married the former Christine Miller at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Brillion. Since 1985 Tom took pride in being a farmer and sharing his passion for farming with his wife Chris and son/business partner T.J. For several years he also worked for Kempen Excavating.

Survivors include his wife Chris; their four children and three grandchildren: son T.J. Haelfrisch (Brillion), three daughters: Ashley and son-in-law Brandon Ash (St. Nazianz) & their three children: Madisyn, Cooper & Collin “often referred to as Papa’s MCC”, Katrina Haelfrisch (Brillion), and Kelsey Haelfrisch (Ryan Rennie) (Mosinee). Also surviving are his siblings: Sandy (Gary) Luedtke, Rosemary (Larry) Zutz, Debbie Nate, Jim (Paula) Haelfrisch, and sister-in-law Monica Haelfrisch.

And also survived by his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Allan and Dona Miller, Gertie and Gene Zipperer, Norbie and Debbie Miller, Alice and Russ Zimmermann, Jeanette and Vic Wenzel, Joe and Doris Miller, and Paul and Laurie Miller. He leaves behind many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, god child Chad Nate, other relatives and many special friends, including barn dogs, Princess, Rasko and his newest dog, Rummy.

As Tom entered the beautiful gates of his heavenly farmstead, he was welcomed home by his parents Fritz and Marian Haelfrisch, brother Larry, mother and father-in-law, Norbert and Gertrude Miller, and brothers-in-law Tim Nate, Lyle Miller and Infant Baby Miller.

In June of 2019 Tom spotlighted his family farm as the Manitowoc County Breakfast on the Farm host. Tom loved his visits with farm reps, joking with friends and always found a way to win every card game he played. He supported and loved watching his children succeed in their careers and enjoyed their many visits at the family farm. Many of the greatest memories took place on his farm! In 2013 Tom took to his new name Papa… any chance he could, he found a way to spoil his three little blue-eyed grandchildren…buying them that extra farm toy or treating them to ice cream! Through his recent radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy treatments he enjoyed his many ranger rides around the countryside to check the fields and visit his neighborhood friends. Through the weakness that came with his treatments he was still able to enjoy some walks to the barn and took pride in fishing at his friends’ ponds. When rest became his priority, he enjoyed watching his favorite game shows, Hallmark movies and Ag Report while visiting with family and friends.

A celebration of Tom’s life will take place on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020 at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1100 W. Ryan Street, Brillion, WI 54110, beginning with public visitation at 8:30 am followed by a 1:00 pm Catholic Funeral Mass (Casual Dress). Rev. Tom Pomeroy will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial. Immediately following mass, everyone is welcome to join Tom on his final ride home led by a team of Rick Taddy’s pulling horses that he always enjoyed watching. Three miles from his farm, Tom will then be laid to rest at Holy Trinity Cemetery, Kasson, surrounded by a beautiful country view that he loved most. The Reinbold & Pfeffer Family Funeral Home of Kellnersville assisted the family with arrangements Online condolences may be expressed at

A heartfelt thank you to the many friends and family that reached out in so many ways to offer our family help over these last 11 months. A special thank you to his childhood family friend, Anthony, that added a very special day to our last family vacation to Florida in 2019. Tom was one to always welcome people to his family and will forever hold a special spot in his heart for Eleshia Hill, (Chicago, IL) and Matt Duchow who were like children to him.

God blessed Tom with many great healthcare professionals including his family, homecare nurse Rachel, and Holy Family Memorial ENT staff - Dr. Smith and Magen RN. Tom met many amazing professionals through his cancer journey and without each of them he wouldn’t have been able to continue fighting this battle while still enjoying his final days at home. To each person that touched Tom’s life in such a positive way, you will be forever remembered as living proof of the incredible things God can bless a family with.

This is not goodbye, but rather we will see you again Dad and Papa! Cancer may have taken your body, heaven has your soul, but we get the memories. We are certain that God blessed us with a very special angel that has taught us that love does not need a voice to be heard. We love you forever and always Husband, Dad and Papa!


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