Thomas George Bernacchi, 65, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 after wrestling with chronic illnesses that never dampened his zest for living. He was surrounded by his family. Thomas, “Tom”, is survived by his wife Mary Therese (“Terri “), son Dominic, daughters Danielle and Anna (Riggsbee), son-in-law Brandon Riggsbee, grandsons Anthony and Damian, siblings Michael, Kathleen (Redlin), James, and Jacqueline and numerous nieces and nephews.
Tom was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on October 9, 1954, the youngest child and son of Deno Bernacchi and Lola Marcolini Bernacchi. After growing up in Kenosha (schooled at St Thomas Aquinas and St Joseph High School), Thomas met the love of his life, Mary Therese Hawbaker, in high school and married her on August 16, 1975. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Madison, Wisconsin where they both attended the University of Wisconsin. Tom found his calling in real estate management, working for Housing Associates (Columbus, WI) from 1976 to 1979 and Madsen Corp. in Madison Wisconsin from 1979 to 1986. It was in 1986 that Thomas found his home in Zilber Ltd. (Milwaukee, WI) with his mentor and long-time friend Joseph Zilber Sr., working for the group from 1986 through the week of his death. He will be remembered and missed by his colleagues and mentees for his generosity, professionalism and joviality.
Tom had numerous personal and professional engagements and accomplishments, which centered on his love of Milwaukee, including but not limited to: Chapter presidencies and vice-presidencies of the Institute Real Estate Management, Past president and current board member of Downtown Milwaukee’s Westown Association, Director of the Milwaukee Riverwalk Business Improvement District and chair of the board of Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District, and Supporter, Friend, and Treasurer of Sheriff David Clark.
Tom was active in many organizations which benefited his social and religious communities. More than these, Tom considered his family his greatest accomplishment. An avid Catholic family man, Tom will be remembered most for his generosity of time, talent and spirit. Tom and his family would like to thank all of the doctors and medical support staff who have cared for him over the past 20 years.
A wake/remembrance will be held on Friday, February 14, from 5:00 to 7:30 pm at Becker Ritter funeral home, Brookfield, WI
Catholic Visitation and Mass will be held on Saturday, February 15, visitation to start at 9:00 am followed by the Mass 10:00 am at Saint Jerome Catholic Church, 995 S. Silver Lake St., Oconomowoc, WI 53066. Private family interment at All Saints Cemetery in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donation in remembrance of Thomas Bernacchi to one of his favorite charities: Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Pro-life Wisconsin, or the Tom Bernacchi Memorial Fund (to be used for scholarships).
PLEASE CALL THE FUNERAL HOME FOR DIRECTIONS TO ACCESS PARKING LOT DUE TO ROAD CONSTRUCTION & INTERSECTION CLOSURE.