Thomas W. Grote, devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend to many, passed away on Sunday, September 17, 2023 in Hilton Head, SC with his wife Nan by his side. He was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin to Henry and Hazel (Peg) Grote on April 15, 1935.
From his early upbringing, Tom was instilled with a strong work ethic and compassion for others. He attended the University of Wisconsin, where he was a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity and received a degree in Business Management. After graduation he served in the Army Reserve before accepting a job with Prudential Insurance, where he spent the next 63 years. Along the way he made many lasting relationships. Early in his career he helped a young nurse named Marilyn Chubrilo with a health insurance claim — a chance meeting that led to friendship and, later, marriage. Marilyn and Tom settled on the west side of Madison and raised three children, David (Joni) of The Woodlands, TX; Elizabeth (Edward) Stewart of Elm Grove, WI; and Daniel of Madison, WI.
Throughout his long career in the financial services industry, Tom received numerous President’s Citations and was a Life and Founding member of the Million Dollar Roundtable. Tom was a member of the Madison West Lions Club and St. Maria Goretti parish for many years. Much of his spare time was devoted to the sport of golf. He was a member of Blackhawk Country Club for over 55 years, earning the nickname “Straight Ball” for his accurate game. His bucket list was fulfilled when he was finally able to make it to Augusta, Georgia to see The Masters. Tom enjoyed other sporting events as well. A proud Badger, he was a season ticket holder to UW football, basketball and hockey games, where he could be found right behind the scorer’s table.
After 44 wonderful years together, Tom’s first wife Marilyn passed away. It was at Tom’s 50th UW reunion that he reconnected with an old classmate named Nan Stahl. Nan, who had also lost a spouse, recalled that Tom had been a waiter at her sorority house during their college years. Tom and Nan were married in Madison and enjoyed 15 happy years together, spending summers in Wisconsin and the rest of the year in Hilton Head Island, SC. Tom’s biggest joys came from spending time with his family members and following their many activities. In addition to his wife Nan, his children and their spouses, Tom is survived by his grandchildren Taylor Grote (Brittani); Hannah Stewart; Joseph Stewart; great grandson Oaklan Grote; Tom’s sister Virginia Ihlenfeld; and Nan’s three children and five grandchildren, who he loved very much. He was preceded in death by his first wife Marilyn and grandson Benjamin Stewart. Tom will be remembered as a generous, loving caretaker who had a positive impact on all those he met. He lived his life with an open heart and that ever-present twinkle in his eye. After a long and brave battle, Tom left this world with incredible grace, courage and faith.
A private graveside service will be held October 27 at 11am at Resurrection Cemetery in Madison. Following the service there will be a celebration of Tom’s life for family and friends at 1pm at Blackhawk Country Club, 3606 Blackhawk Drive in Madison.
Donations can be made to Journey Mental Health Center at www.journeymhc.org.