Thomas Ben Hance Jr., 63
Thomas Ben Hance Jr began his journey on May 5, 1954 and unexpectedly died on October 14, 2017. Tom was the third child born to Thomas and Betty Hance in Tuscola, Illinois. Growing up he learned to love adventure and lived his life always looking over the horizon for the next one.
Tom graduated from Bowler High School in 1972 with his high school sweetheart Donna Lex by his side. On January 8, 1973 they eloped and married in Waukegan, IL. This was the start of a wonderful 44 year marriage and a family that includes Rebecca (Paul) Bahr and Jennifer (Chris) Blattner. It was further expanded by the grandchildren who were his pride and joy: Lauren and Matthew Bahr together with Kailtyn, Ally, and Megan Blattner.
After graduating, he was accepted into Stout State University for Business Administration in the Industrial Technology program. To earn money for college he went to work on pipeline construction in the upper Midwest and decided to stay eventually becoming crew foreman. Tired of being on the road with a young family at home, he accepted a position as Shawano County Deputy Sheriff. After serving a year as jailer / desk sergeant, he was promoted to patrolman and completed certification at the Wisconsin Police Recruit School at Fox Valley Tech. This was during the civil unrest of the 70’s leading to his involvement with the Wounded Knee and Novitiate Native American protest near Gresham.
Timing was right in the late 1970’s when Tom’s father asked him to join a new real estate & auction company – Brunner Hance Real Estate. After home studying and passing the Real Estate Brokers Exam, they worked together briefly before Tom accepted a position with Rural Insurance as a property claims investigator & adjustor. When his father unexpectedly passed away, Tom returned to close out the family business.
Wanting to stay in the home area, he began a new adventure in the veal calf industry. Always having a love of farming he looked at the specialty feed industry as a way to live a dream. After working several years as a sales and marketing representative for several companies, he began raising his own calves and beef cattle. Tom soon became a well respected leader in the industry that lead him to eventually become President for both the Wisconsin and American Veal Associations. This branched out further to service on the State and National Cattlemans Beef Boards.
Resulting from a severe downturn in the industry and always looking for his next adventure, Tom dusted off his Real Estate license to open United Country – Hance Realty. He operated an office in Birnamwood for a few years before the market again dropped, redirecting him to become Operations Manager for Wittenberg Disposal & Trucking where he oversaw 3 shops and over 90 trucks. After 6 years the business was sold causing him to update his commercial driver’s license and add a passenger endorsement so he could drive coach bus for a couple years transporting a semi pro hockey team and a womans semi-pro football team.
Eventually Tom entered the final chapter of his life in the automotive sales industry. He was fortunate to find a family run dealership in Clintonville Motors that he hoped to retire from.
In addition to his wife, daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren, Tom is survived by his mother Betty Hance; brothers Rick (Diane) Hance and David (Rene Holley) Hance; sister Mary (Bob) Sansevere; mother-in-law Alice Lex; brothers-in-law Tom (Donna Karcz) Lex, Paul (Mikki) Lex and Dwayne Barke; sisters-in-law Cindy (Ken Hayes) Evans, Geri (Dale) Hamilton, Jean (Pat) Zalewski, Vicki (David) Anunson and Carrie (Ryan Anderson) Thoreson.
Tom was preceded in death by his father Thomas Hance Sr; sister Linda Barke; father-in-law George Lex and brothers-in-law Bob Lex and John Evans.
A Masonic Service will be held at 1pm on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg. Visitation will be held on Wednesday from 11:00 am until the time of service at the funeral home. Interment will be in Forest Cemetery, Birnamwood.