Thomas “Tom” Christopher Stepaniak, of Stevens Point, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Aspirus Stevens Point Hospital, at the age of 60.
Tom, a true gift from the start, was born on Christmas Day of 1962; born to Richard and Ramona (née Drefcinski) Stepaniak in Stevens Point. Tom, was the third and only son of six children; cherished by his five sisters and loved dearly by his parents.
Tom was born with Downs Syndrome, in the early 1960s, when little was known about this condition. In spite of that, Tom’s family faithfully accepted the challenge of learning all they could about it in order to better help Tom reach his full potential.
During his early years, Tom attended area schools and learned sign language to better communicate. As he grew and developed his abilities further, he began working at numerous local community agencies. He worked at CIC/ODC, performing community service work such as walking dogs at the Humane Society, washing car seats at the YMCA, and various cleaning tasks throughout local businesses.
When he was young, he attended the Rosholt Lion’s Camp in the summer and when he got older, he eagerly participated in the Special Olympics for a number of years.
Tom had a personality that could light up a room with his warm and easy manner. His smile and laughter were contagious and made him an absolute joy to be around. He loved giving big Teddy Bear hugs and was very affectionate. He loved music, dancing and celebrations. While he loved all music, his favorite genres were classical, polka, and Christmas music. He also enjoyed playing cards, arranging his numerous stuffed animals, and attending local instrumental, choral and outdoor concerts. Additionally, Tom was known as the ‘family meteorologist’ as he had a keen interest in all things weather-related and could often predict the forecast. Tom was truly remarkable and for those who got to know him in his lifetime, they were left a better person for it.
While Tom’s final years were spent in various adult family homes; his family lovingly dedicated their lives to raising him and selflessly taking care of him. However, over the years they couldn’t have done it without the dedicated help from many wonderful caregivers. The family would like to acknowledge and thank those who stepped in to offer support and welcomed him into their homes. A special thank you to Pat, Barb, Linda and Jane; Tom’s caregivers who were amazingly compassionate and caring.
Tom is affectionately survived by his mother, Ramona; his sisters, Diane (Mark) Sommers, Karen Schoen, Jean (Gary) Rosenthal, Doreen (Kirk) Newton, and Denise Tegen-Stepaniak; nieces; nephews; and one great-nephew.
Tom was preceded in death by his father, Richard.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at Sacred Heart Catholic Parish (Polonia), 7379 Church St. in Custer. Rev. Mark Miller will officiate. Friends and family are invited to gather and share memories from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at Shuda Funeral Home, 3200 Stanley St., Stevens Point. A Rosary Prayer will be at 6:30 p.m. and again on Wednesday at the church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service. Burial will follow at Guardian Angel Cemetery in Stevens Point.
Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.shudafuneral.com.