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.
Stehling Family c/o Lourdes Stehling
If desired memorials to the Stehling family in care of Lourdes Stehling.
Life Story / Obituary
Although he was taken from his loved ones much too soon, Thomas J. “Tom” Stehling made a significant impact in the lives of so many around him. He worked hard, but he took the time to enjoy life along the way as well. It was easy to see that there was no greater gift in Tom's life than his precious daughters, and he was so proud of the amazing young women they are becoming. Someone who wasn’t afraid to do things his own way, his zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Deeply loved, Tom will be forever missed.
In America, life was eventful during the 1960s. We elected the young John F. Kennedy as our 35th President of the United States, civil rights frequently topped the news headlines of the day, and by the end of the decade we had put the first man on the moon. Amidst this historic time was a time of great celebration in the lives of James and Connie (Maglio) Stehling as they were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Thomas James on March 2, 1966, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Raised in Shorewood, a Milwaukee suburb, he was the youngest of three as he was joined in his family by his sisters, Susan and Cindy. Tom’s father was an insurance agent while his mother taught grade school.
From the time he was a young boy Tom was a bustle of activity. He was always fun, and it was while growing up that he developed his fun-loving and goofy sense of humor. Tom enjoyed Legos and building things in general, and he also played some Little League baseball. Susan even talked of walking past his bedroom to hear him saying,“I gotta catch that ball,” over and over in his sleep. Tom loved exploring and just being outside both at home and up at the cottage in Door County. He also looked forward to spending time at summer camp.
As a teen Tom continued to develop his interests. He developed a love for bicycling. In fact, it has been said that Tom lived and breathed bicycling. He did some road and track racing in younger days, and he still loved a long road ride. In addition to the family dog, Schatzi, Tom had gerbils, fish, a pet snake to which he fed live crickets and two long-lived and well-loved ferrets. It was quite an event when the family awoke to the sound of crickets chirping throughout the house as the snake’s dinner had escaped. Tom attended local schools and was on the wrestling team and also ran track. A talented artist, he graduated from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) in 1994.
Life was forever changed for Tom when he met Lourdes Rosario at a grocery store. They began dating, and in time they were married. Together they welcomed two daughters, Brianna and Chelsea, into their hearts and home. Tom was deeply devoted to his daughters, and he was forever putting them first in his life. He was there to enthusiastically cheer them on in all their events and activities, and Tom was also so encouraging as he was quick to remind them how special they were and how he was so proud of them in everything they did. His dog, Buddy, was also an important part of his life. Tom loved taking his family up North to the cottage in Door County in the summer, and they once went to Columbia to meet Lourdes’ family. Even when they were just hanging around at home, Tom loved spending time with his girls. They could often be found watching The Three Stooges, and would often say, “We don’t need money to be happy.”
Throughout his life Tom was someone who was rarely still. He worked hard to provide for his family, and over the years he had several jobs in a variety of fields. Tom worked at Kopps, ICM Corporation and would always make the girls stickers, he drove taxi, worked at Petco, and even delivered for Jimmy Johns and would bring the girls bread. In addition to his longtime love for bicycle riding and racing, it was tradition that he watch the Tour de France every year. As his family and friends can attest, Tom was willing to talk bicycles, biking, and bike racing with anyone who was willing to listen.
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Thomas “Tom” Stehling lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. He never cared about what society thought of him, and he was also unapologetic about doing his own thing. Every moment spent with his daughters were among his favorites, and Tom was the sort of person who would do whatever he could for others. Life will never be the same without him here, and he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
Loving father and brother Thomas James Stehling (Tom), 53, of Cudahy, WI, died in an auto accident on Thursday, July 18. His mother, Connie Stehling, and father, James F. Stehling, precede Tom in death. He is remembered by his cherished daughters Brianna and Chelsea, ex-wife Lourdes, sisters Susan Stehling (Dan Alms) and Cindy Wagner (Mike), other relatives and friends and his beloved dog Buddy.