American Veteran 01

Thomas Gary Van de Grift

September 11, 1942 ~ November 10, 2020 (age 78)


Thomas G. (Tom) Van de Grift, age 78, peacefully passed away on November 10, 2020.

Tom was born on September 11, 1942 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to the late “Jack” and Bernice Van de Grift. He was a graduate of Lincoln High School in 1960. Tom attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison and graduated from law school in 1967. Tom enlisted in the the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1967 and completed Officer Candidate school in 1970. He went on to serve the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and the Wisconsin 84th Division. He received the Meritorious Service Medal for his exceptional service and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1994. In addition to his military service, Tom was a dedicated attorney for the State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. He served as Chief Negotiator for the Wisconsin State Attorney’s Association and retired in 2000, receiving a Commendation from the Governor of the State of Wisconsin for his service. 

Tom moved to Naples, Florida in 2002. He was a passionate tennis player, engaged community leader and generous neighbor. Tom was always active — from walking State Street and the Capital Square in Madison, to hiking in the mountains, hunting with his beloved Labradors, Boomer and Tango, biking or walking through his neighborhood.  Most of all, he loved spending time with his family and friends. He will always be remembered for his sense of humor, his love of the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers, his generosity, and “outstanding” attitude. 

Tom is survived by his three children: Jon Van de Grift (Allison) Port Jefferson, NY; Kevin (Sandra) Van de Grift, Milwaukee, WI; and Kara Van de Grift (Michael), Boulder, CO; his two granddaughters, Emy & Emerson; his brother, Steven (Patricia) Van de Grift, Manitowoc, and sister Kaaren Van de Grift, St. Nazianz, WI, his cousins Rory (Jackie) Bahr, Madison, WI and Joel (Leigh) Bahr, Middleton, WI and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Tom was preceded in death by his parents.

Tom’s family would like to thank the nurses and staff of LifeCare Center of Longmont for the care and compassion they provided.

The family will greet relatives and friends for a celebration of Tom’s life at a later date when it is safer to gather. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made in Tom’s memory to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary: 

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