Thomas Wichelmann

Obituary of Thomas Wichelmann

Family and friends will gather on April 15 to remember and give thanks for the life of Tom Wichelmann who passed away at his home following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease. Born in Davenport, Iowa to Eleanor and Otto Wichelmann, he was 76 years old.

Tom was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, trusted friend, and colleague who led a full life before being struck with a most devastating disease. Tom graduated from the University of Arizona and the Golden Gate school of Law. He made Santa Cruz his home for the last 45 years, where he was a respected member of the legal community until his illness forced his retirement.

As a lover of all music, Tom was a self-taught musician playing the guitar, banjo, and harmonica. He was a former member of the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus, and the Trinity Presbyterian Church choir. Tom and his good friend, Nick Royal, formed the musical group, "Music to Warm the Spirit" and performed at convalescent homes and senior's groups. Tom was a season ticket holder to the Santa Cruz Symphony, and he looked forward to each concert. Tom was a much loved and respected member of Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club, providing the musical entertainment and sing along spirit of the club for many of its meetings and special events. Tom was an avid fan of Penn State football, and a member of the Pennsylvania Groundhog Club.

Always active, Tom ran in every Wharf to Wharf since its inception in 1973, and was affectionately known as "Wharf Man" to friends and family. Accompanied by his son, Jason, and a small support team, Tom completed the 44th annual Wharf to Wharf last July, and had a bib number for the upcoming 45th race this year. Jason will proudly wear his number in this year's race. Tom ran many races, including 10Ks and several marathons. He also participated in several Triathlons. He was especially fond of the "Dipsea" trail race from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. Tom was a past member of the Santa Cruz Rowing Club, where he had many adventures including sinking one of the boats. A favorite annual event was Jon and Ken's Most Excellent Adventure; a 200 mile charity bike ride to support local youth athletics. Tom enjoyed backpacking in the Sierras with his church group and family. Tom also played for many years on the "Hot Sox" adult coed soccer team, where for several years he was the team's oldest member.

Tom was an animal lover and was joined on daily runs by a series of Golden Retrievers throughout the years. When he became bedridden, he was loyally accompanied by his present canine companions, Rosie and McDuff.

Tom is survived and greatly missed, by his devoted wife of 30 years, Karen Wichelmann, his sons and daughters-in-law Jason and Deven Wichelmann of Scotts Valley and Kyle and Linda Wichelmann of Benicia, Ca. He was like a father to Scott and Jenny Mitchell of Sandy, Utah, and Shannon Mitchell of Sandpoint, Id. Tom adored his grandchildren Reese, Spencer, Mira, Haley, Shayne, Maya, and Bennett. As babies, they were all treated to guitar and banjo "concerts", especially for them. Tom enjoyed attending special school events and graduations. Tom also leaves a loving extended family and friends who will miss his genuine spirit and sense of fun and adventure.

A celebration of Tom's life will be held at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 420 Melrose Avenue, Santa Cruz, Ca. 95062 on Saturday, April 15, beginning at 1:00. Contributions in Tom's name may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 1777 Capitola Road, Suite A, Santa Cruz, Ca. 95062