Thomas Frederick Straus

Thomas Frederick Straus

MIDDLETON-Thomas Frederick Straus was born into this world on June 30th, 1964 and left this world on January 29, 2014 following an 11 year battle with a brain tumor.

Thom was married to Susan (Moses) for 24 adventure filled years. During that time they produced 3 amazing kids: Ian (Sam), Emma & Noah; as well as opening their hearts to: Artem & Katia from Ukraine; Freddy, Leonie & Maren from Germany; Hotaru from Japan; Becky from Brazil; and Sindre from Norway.

Thom was a truly generous person who gave freely of his time to support the things he loved. Thom participated in fundraising events annually supporting great non-profits like: The March of Dimes; The Boy Scouts of America; Wisconsin Public Radio and Television; HeadRush; The American Brain Tumor Association; and the place where his joy in giving was started – Bethel Horizons. Thom also coached soccer, played softball, volunteered regularly as a chaperone for the kid’s field trips & mission trips, volunteered at a local food pantry, served on the Horizon’s Board, and taught many years of Sunday School. Need to move? Thom was your guy. Having a rough time? You could call Thom for a friendly shoulder to lean on.

Thom’s passions were many and varied. Art was something that he loved – making it, supporting local artists (and befriending many), & searching for new pieces when traveling. Music was as important as breathing – singing in a choir, finding new bands and genres, going to concerts; Thom was rarely without a source of music. From the early days of the Walkman to his iPod, music was always with Thom. Movies were the inspiration for many of the sayings that Thom would roll out on a moment’s notice and his movie choices were as varied as his music. Camping with friends and family was a treasured tradition – many a Memorial Day weekend would find the family home at the end, soggy and smelling of wood smoke but, filled with stories. Whether it was camping at Bethel Horizons or camping across the West as a family Thom could pitch a tent, light the fire and be ready for a brewski in short order.

No matter what the challenges, Thom faced them with a spirit of good natured adventure. The support of the Brain Tumor Support Group at the UW Hospital and the amazing care from his doctors at the UW, got Thom through, at many times, a rough decade. Brain tumors are ugly beasts, but the people that were brought into our lives because of it have been amazing. There is something good to be found in everything.

Thom is survived by his wife Susan, his children Ian (Samantha), Emma and Noah as well as his parents, Richard and Sue, his sister Jane (David) and brother Ted (Stephanie). Thom is also survived by a large and loving family including cousins, in-laws, nieces and nephews as well as by his incredible group of friends. Special thanks are given to the wonderful friends and family who provided care for Thom while he was able to remain at home and to the incredible team of nurses and CNAs at Agrace Hospice.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to T3 – Tackling Thom’s Tumor, 1767 Beach Rd, Verona, 53593. Funds will be used for support of & college funds for his children and for disbursement to Thom’s favorite charities.

A memorial service celebrating Thom’s life will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Ave, Madison, at 11:00 AM on Saturday, February 8, 2014. Visitation will be held on Saturday from 9:30 until the time of the service at the church. Celebration lunch to follow.

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson West
Funeral & Cremation Care
7435 University Avenue