Family & Friends Gathering
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Family are appreciated
Memorials may be give to the family at the Funeral Home or mailed. If you do not have the family's address, you may mail your card to the funeral home and we will forward it. Please address as follows:
Susan Gustafson c/o
Suminski Weiss Funeral Home
1901 N. Farwell Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Tom Gwinn lived his life to the fullest. Adventurous as well as outgoing, there was never a dull moment when Tom was around. A true naturalist he savored every moment he spent on Little Green Lake. A lover of all people, he was always ready to entertain friends and family - whether it was serving up his famous guacamole, playing the guitar and singing or bringing everyone to tears with his jokes and stories. Anyone who knew Tom were touched by his warm spirit and kind-hearted ways. There is no doubt that he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by his special friends and family forever.
The 1950s were exciting times indeed with the many talents of professional sports figures, musicians, and movie stars such as Mickey Mantle, Elvis Presley, and James Dean. Families still huddled around television sets to catch the latest westerns such as Gunsmoke or anything featuring Lucille Ball. On February 23, 1957 in Sheyboygan, WI Melvin and Magdalene “Peggy” (nee Watson) Gwinn welcomed home their baby boy, Thomas Anthony. Tom joined older brothers, John and Randy “Squeak,” and the Gwinn family later welcomed Linda “Susie” and Brenda and the family was complete.
When he was very young the family moved to Milwaukee, WI where the family eventually made their home on Humboldt Ave. on Milwaukee’s Eastside. His father worked for Northwestern Mutual and his mother worked at Globe Union. Tom kept busy with his friends whether it was in boy scouts in his younger years, where learned many valuable skills or just hanging out. Through the years, he grew to love the outdoors – a passion that would last a lifetime. His easy going personality attracted a wide variety of friends during his growing years – friendships that he maintained throughout his life. He attended St. Rita’s Parish School before moving up to St. John’s Cathedral for High School. His Eastside community of close friends and their families left a lasting impression on him throughout his life.
Despite his struggles with addiction, he fell in love with Jackie and on January 7, 1984, their son, Zachary was born. When their relationship ended, Tom traveled out west to live with his brother, John in California. Later, Jackie was diagnosed with cancer and Tom returned to Milwaukee to care for Zach. Sadly, even though Tom had the best of intentions to make Zach a priority, the addiction was too much to bear. This time his sister, Brenda supported him and he moved to Niagara Falls where she lived. It was here that he made a life-changing decision to ride the bike he had borrowed to the local rehab center instead of across town to purchase drugs. Conquering his addiction, Tom enrolled at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York where he earned an associate’s degree in computer science. Tom returned to Milwaukee and despite his relentless attempts to help Zach with his addiction struggle, Tom was devastated when Zach succumbed to his battle. With a passion for acquiring new knowledge and keeping himself clean, he continued his education at UW- Milwaukee earning himself a bachelor’s degree in information science.
During his time at UW- Milwaukee he also met the love of his life, Sue Gustafson. For the two of them it was love at first sight! At Tom’s graduation, Sue spotted him in a sea of people and when he saw her, Tom hopped out of line and flung himself over a row of chairs to steal a kiss from her! The happy couple joined in marriage at the Fernwood Campground on Little Green Lake on August 1, 2017. They were married right on the shore of the lake in a quaint ceremony of family, friends, good food and good fun which they often referred to as their “redneck” wedding! Together they bought their first trailer there which they shared with their beloved cat named Gizmo.
Tom and Sue loved their little spot on the lake and they loved to entertain Sue’s family and their family of lake friends. Many Fourth of July holidays were spent tubing, swimming, and boating with the family on the lake. A family man through and through, Tom enjoyed many special occasions over the years from making balloon poodles at his niece, Clare’s birthday party, to planning a trip to San Diego to witness his nephew, Sam, take his oath with the Marine Corps.
Tom was a hard worker and managed many jobs over the years but he was especially proud of his work with Time Warner. Working his way up to technical operations center surveillance specialist, he developed many good friendships there over the years. Soon after landing his position with the company, Tom purchased a Harley as he always wanted to ride again after surviving a horrific motorcycle accident in his twenties. However, his riding time was short lived as Tom was always off enjoying their place on Little Green Lake. His success helped him achieve his dream of owning land in the Grand Marsh area. He and Sue made Grand Marsh their home away from home, nicknaming it, “Double G Acre.” Nature lovers, they enjoyed spending as much time as possible there. Tom affixed a trail cam to record wildlife and would often share the photos of the visitors on Facebook.
Tom and Sue had many memorable vacations over the years. During each one, Tom would get Sue out of her comfort zone – whether it was SCUBA diving, parasailing, deep sea fishing or even shark watching from a shark cage off the coast in Hawaii. On opening day in November 2018, Tom bagged his last buck on the property, proudly shouting “Susan, I got one!” Tom accepted his illness and gained strength from the tender love of his wife, Sue. She never left his side and was a beautiful guide on the end of his journey – one that they made together. Tom wanted nothing more than to savor every moment in Grand Marsh on the land he adored and asked for one more visit. Tom passed away peacefully with Sue lying next to him – reassuring him that she was there and that they had “one hell of a ride.” A great story teller and jokester, Tom’s wonderful sense of humor and ability to put others at ease will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Thomas Anthony Gwinn’s life journey ended at the age of 62 on July 14, 2019. His wife and life partner, Sue Gustafson, was by his side at the place he loved the most, his land in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin. Tom was also the beloved brother of Randy “Squeak” (Vicki) Gwinn and the warm-hearted brother-in-law of Linda and Richard Nakles. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, brother-in-law Audie Adkins, aunts, uncles, cousins and many close friends. Tom was preceded in death by his son, Zachary Gwinn; parents, Melvin and Magdalene “Peggy” (nee Watson) Gwinn; and siblings: John (Holly) Gwinn, Linda “Susie” Adkins, and Brenda (Frank) Penque.