News & Articles of Interest
Lifetime WOCA member Tom Muench Passed Away April 8, 2021 by Laurel Steffes
Lifetime WOCA member Tom Muench passed away; Services are April 14 in Tomah
Eugene “Tom” Muench, age 84, passed away Thursday, April 8, 2021 at his home. Originally from Antigo, he lived most of his life in Tomah.
Tom’s WOCA history
According to Tim Eisele, Tom participated in WOCA’s first informational meeting in 1976. At the time, he was a regional reporter for Wisconsin Sportsman magazine. Tim recalls he fished with Tom the day after that meeting with local guide Lamont Roth on North Twin Lake. They didn’t catch anything, but were treated to the story of Roth's experience catching five walleyes totaling 55 pounds during November of a previous year.
“After fishing, Lamont drove us into Eagle River, and we saw the stringer of five mounted walleyes in Adomaitis' Barber Shop. I've gone back and still see that stringer hanging in the barber shop.”
Tom was elected to the WOCA Board of Directors in 1978. He also chaired the Awards Committee and served as treasurer for many years. He was honored with a lifetime membership in 1999.
“A good person, dedicated to natural resources, and a duck hunter, he was a regular attendee of the annual conferences. He worked at the Veteran's Hospital in Tomah. I know Tom had very special concerns for vets with disabilities,” Tim noted.
From Tom’s Obituary
Tom worked as a social worker at the Tomah VA for 55 years. He holds the record for being the longest employed federal employee in the entire U.S. He loved and enjoyed his job and cared for his patients deeply. He only retired last year at the age of 84! Prior to being a social worker, his very first job was as a young child picking potatoes, of which he was so proud! He also was a newspaper boy and worked on the railroad. He was enlisted in the Air Force and served from 1954 to1962.
Tom not only cared for his patients, but his community as well. He served on the WI Conservation Congress Committee for the DNR for over 30 years. He was involved in the Tomah Lions Club, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, American Legion, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, WI Bear Hunters Association, and WI Outdoor Communications Association. He has won numerous awards for his dedication and volunteering.
who was blessed to have known Tom knows that he had a deep love for his family
and his love was returned tenfold. The Green Bay Packers also ranked up there!
He fished, ice
fished, and hunted bear, deer, duck, and turkey. He assisted with the elk
start-up in Wisconsin and was an NRA supporter. Many know and refer to Tom as
the “Rambler,” as he was forever “rambling” from one place to the next, keeping
busy with his involvement in clubs and hunting and fishing escapades. Of
course, he always had a good story to tell after one of his ramblings and even
wrote a weekly article for the Tomah Journal called “Ramblings Afield.”
His true love for life and nature was present and experienced in each article. He also wrote articles for WI Outdoors Magazine. As befits the revered man, Tom will leave you with the following, which may sound familiar, “Now, as you get out and enjoy the new days, strive always to leave things better than you found them as the wild country will be better off for your having passed through.”
He is survived by his “beautiful bride” Betty “BJ” Muench, son Kip Muench, son Rick (Mary) Muench, daughter Tammy (Karl) Parpart, Holly Mueller, Heather Farlow; grandchildren Tyler (Rachel) Muench, Taylor (Anthony) Muench, Jacob Muench, Max Muench, Heidi (Corey) Wolfe, Divonte “DJ” Kolinski, Kalecia (Ethan) Kolinski, Makayla Kolinski, Anthony Farlow, Jr; great grandchildren Ayden, Jayce, Amora, Noelle, Talian, Autumn, brothers, Chuck (Anne) Muench, Gary "Mike" (Gail) Muench, Pat (Jan) Muench, Denny (Shari) Muench; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins.
He is preceded in death by his parents, a brother, a stepson, and uncles and aunts.
Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at the Torkelson Funeral Home in Tomah. Pastor Bob Streeter will officiate. Family and friends are invited for visitation from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial with full military honors will be held on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at the Buffalo City Cemetery in Buffalo County, WI. The Torkelson Funeral Home of Tomah is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at www.torkelsonfuneralhome.com.
Dan Small and Tim Eisele Honored by National Wild Turkey Federation
At its annual convention held January 24-25 in Stevens Point, the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) honored two WOCA members for their work on behalf of conservation in 2019.
Tim Eisele was honored as the chapter’s Outdoor Writer of the Year, and Dan Small was named Conservation Educator of the Year.
Eisele, a charter member of the Wisconsin chapter, said he came to an organizational meeting in 1981 and was so intrigued by the goals and opportunities the new organization represented that he joined NWTF.
“I applaud the work you are doing to enhance habitat and recruit new hunters,” Eisele told the group.
On the convention’s first night, Small showed the award-winning “Wild Turkeys in Wisconsin” video, which aired in early 2019 on commercial and public stations in five states, and participated in a panel discussion on the status of wild turkeys.
In accepting the educator award, he acknowledged the program’s executive producer, NWTF life member Mark LaBarbera, and videographer/editor Dave Roll. “This production was a group effort,” Small said. “We also had help from NWTF, the DNR and many others.”
The video can be seen online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6ivW1F_8pU&t=1529s
Others honored included DNR Pierce County conservation warden Isaac Kruse, Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; retired DNR chief warden Todd Schaller, Distinguished DNR Partner; and Doug Duren, Land Stewardship Award.
WOCA 2021 Annual Meeting
Members staying overnight at Trees for Tomorrow need to fill out a medical form for Trees for Tomorrow and attach it to the registration form. To download a copy of the form please check HERE.
Make plans now to attend the 2021 WOCA Annual Meeting at Trees for Tomorrow in Eagle River. This is always a fun event and if you haven't attended one lately mark you calendar and download the registration form (above) to attend. Lodging is available at Trees for Tomorrow. You won't want to miss the Friday night cookout!
If you know someone that is not a member but is an outdoor communicator, bring them along to enjoy the fun and maybe consider joining this great group of outdoor communicators.