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Thomas James Neumann
December 23, 2023
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Thomas James Neumann, age 83 of Escanaba Michigan passed away on December 23, 2023 after a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Marinette, WI in 1940 to Charles and Fern Stillman. He married the former Sharon Peot of Marinette in September 1961.
Tom graduated from Peshtigo High School in 1958. He was a standout athlete in high school and a three-time state champion shot putter. He was offered a scholarship at the University Wisconsin-Madison for football and played in the 1960 Rose Bowl. He later transferred to Northern Michigan University where he held the rushing record for over 20 years. While attending Northern, Tom found time to start one of the first fast food restaurants in the country named TOGO’s with his friend Gordon Reed. The two co-founders combined parts of their first names, the "TO" from Tom and "GO" from Gordon.
He was drafted by the Boston Patriots after graduation. Tom and Sharon and baby Julie moved to Salem MA, where Tom played football for the Patriots for two years before leaving football with injuries. He was on the first Patriot team to win a playoff game and played in the 1963 AFL championship.
Tom’s Bachelor degree from Northern was in teaching and he went back to Wisconsin to teach English and coach high school sports. Eventually, Tom and Sharon moved to Flint MI where Tom served as rotating principal of elementary schools and achieved his master’s degree in education. After couple years, Tom moved to West Iron County schools in the UP as assistant principal and coach. He began to pursue a career in financial advising during this time. Tom and Sharon chose to move south to Escanaba after it snowed on the fourth of July parade in Caspian Mi, and made Escanaba their personal home. He had a long career as a Financial Planner and was one of the first employees of Edward D Jones.
Tom loved Escanaba and became an involved resident. He was a long-time member of the Central United Methodist church. He was also an active member of the Elks, Lions and Escanaba Country Club. He was an amazingly supportive dad, grandpa, and great-grampa, Tom loved watching and hearing about his grandchildren’s sporting events over the years. In recent years Tom had five great-grandchildren to follow as well.
Tom had battled multiple sclerosis for over 35 years. Despite the debilitative nature of this illness, Tom refused to ever give up. He swam at the YMCA for years early in the morning until he could no longer get there. He maintained a positive attitude and had a wonderful will for life. We would like to thank all his caregivers that helped keep Tom in his home and independent.
Left to cherish his life are his wife Sharon of 62 years, children Julie (Lenny) Pecore and Jay (Beth) Neumann. Also beloved were grandchildren Erica Brickner (Josh), Sean Brickner (Kelly), Jared Pecore (Dustin), and namesake Tom Neumann. Great grandchildren include: Deacon, Penelope and Adelaide Pollard and Olivia and Ryan Brickner. Brother Rick (Pat) Vandenack.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Robert, “Red” Neumann.
Visitation will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Thursday, December 28, 2023 at the Anderson Funeral Home in Escanaba. Escanaba Elks Lodge # 354 memorial services will be conducted at 3:45 p.m., Thursday at the Anderson Funeral Home Chapel. Funeral services celebrating the life of Thomas James Neumann will be held at 4:00 p.m., Thursday, at the Anderson Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Stephen Cowen officiating. A luncheon will be serviced following the funeral services in the Ludington Room, located at the Anderson Funeral Home. Burial will take place in the Lakeview Cemetery.