Rev. Thomas F. Hoelter was called home to claim the fullness of his redemption promise on April 16. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family after a months-long battle with cancer. Thomas was born to Edwin and Doris (Gain) Hoelter in DuQuoin, IL on July 3, 1947.
At age 13, Thomas attended preparatory school at Concordia Junior College in Milwaukee, WI to begin pastoral studies like his father before him. He graduated in 1967 and went on to Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, IN where he graduated in 1969. He then attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO, graduating in 1973.
He married the love of his life, Mary (Gunther) Hoelter in 1970 and the two enjoyed 50 years of loving marriage.
Thomas was ordained as a minister of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Norwood Park, IL in 1973. He served his first parish at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Chambers, Nebraska 1973-1976. He also served at Calvary Lutheran Church in Council Grove, KS from 1976 to 1979 and St. John’s Lutheran Church in Durand, Wisconsin as well as Immanuel Lutheran Church in Plum City from 1979 to 1987. Reverend Hoelter served as Pastor of Rib Mountain Lutheran Church from 1987 until his retirement in 2013. Upon retiring, he continued to preach as a guest pastor at various parishes in north central Wisconsin.
Thomas worked hard and found joy in various pursuits throughout his life. He held a number of different jobs as a young man, including delivering papers, working at a blacksmith shop, building Harris FloteBotes, laying concrete conduit for telephone lines, working at Harley Davidson, and answering phones for an attorney of Jimmy Hoffa. He was spirited and athletic in his younger years, joining the cheer team while at Junior College. He also volunteered as a firefighter at his first parish and led devotions at nursing homes in the Wausau area. Thomas was an avid cook who found a creative outlet in cooking, particularly grilling. He enjoyed playing guitar and had a passion for the classical and ancient languages of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. He spent a good deal of time translating the original texts of scripture when preparing his weekly sermon.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edwin and Doris; brother, Steve; and step-father, Louis Carstens. He is survived by his wife, Mary; brothers, Mark (Karen) and Joel (Velma) Hoelter; sister Susan (Rusty) Brown; sons James (Lori) Hoelter, Matthew (Michelle) Hoelter, and Jonathan (Elizabeth) Hoelter; and ten grandchildren: Luke, Benjamin, Samuel, and Jessie; Bronson and Eva; Emmy, Hansel, Gus, and Charity.
Visitation will be held at Rib Mountain Lutheran Church, 227150 Harrier Ave, Wausau on Wednesday, April 21 from 10am until the start of the funeral service at noon. Pastor Tim Swanson will officiate. The service will also be available to stream at https://www.helke.com/obituary/PastorThomas-Hoelter.
We would like to thank Interim Healthcare Home Care and Hospice, Dr. Abhishek Seth and the Marshfield Clinic oncology team, and Dr. Olatunji Oladeji and the staff at the Marshfield Medical Center - Weston for their great care, compassion, and kindness they showed Tom and his family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Lutheran World Relief or to the family to be allocated to other organizations important to Tom.
Lutheran World Relief
PO Box 17061, Baltimore MD 21297-1061