Thomas “Tom” Stieglitz, 98, passed peacefully into life eternal on March 25, 2020. Tom was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and raised in Indianapolis, IN where he graduated from Arsenal Technical High School. After graduation, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Tom served during WWII as a Staff Sergeant with the 31st Fighter Group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Among many commendations for his actions in England, Africa, Sicily, and Italy, he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor. Tom returned home from the war in June 1945.
In 1945, Tom joined the Masonic Order, becoming a full member of the Scottish Rite, and enrolled in Purdue University, where he went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. In the summer of 1946 Tom met Jean Scheuring, a beautiful red headed farm girl in a blue gingham dress, when he helped his mom and dad move to a small home located on the farm owned by Jean’s family in Greenwood, WI. He proposed to his life-long love at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve while dancing at the Silver Dome in Neillsville, WI. She said, “Yes!”, they were married in 1947, and as newlyweds, moved to Indianapolis, IN to start their life together. The most important events in Toms life happened in Indianapolis. He became the proud father of four children, and his Christian life was transformed and strengthened when he and Jean attended the Billy Graham Indianapolis Crusade in 1959.
Tom began his career with General Motors at the Allison Division in Indianapolis. His 32-year career with GM took his family first to Michigan and then to California in 1961. There, he was head of Maintenance and Operations at the Delco Facility in Goleta, CA. One of the highlights of his career was working with the team developing the Lunar Rover, which went to the moon with the Apollo Project. He retired from General Motors in 1981. After his first retirement, he worked for the Goleta Union School District for 8 years as head of Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation, finally retiring in 1989.
Tom loved and cherished his family, instilling in them Christian values. He exemplified Christ’s love and service in his membership at St. Mark UMC, serving the church in many capacities, including teaching children’s Sunday school. He kept family connections through annual cross-country camping vacations from California to the family farm in Greenwood, WI. With his children’s input, he’d plan different driving routes between the mid-west and the west coast in order to appreciate the natural beauty of our country, teaching them to “in awesome wonder, consider all the works Thy Hand hath made” as taken from his favorite hymn How Great Thou Art. The pinnacle of his outdoor activities was scaling the summit of Mt. Whitney. The most valuable legacy he leaves to his family is his example as a loving and dedicated spouse and father, grounded in his deep faith in Jesus.
Tom’s service to others extended beyond his family. He received an award from General Motors for excellence in community activities, was recognized for leadership and service to the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, and served on the board of the Goleta Valley Community Center. He looked out for his neighbors by running errands and performing handyman tasks where needed. For over 20 years he joined other Delco retirees, making wooden toys for children in need at the Unity Shoppe. This organization held a very special place in Tom’s heart and continues in its efforts to provide joy to children in the local community that might otherwise not have anything for Christmas.
As one of his favorite Psalms concludes, “Surely he will dwell in the house of the Lord (and in our hearts) forever.” We give thanks for the life of Tom Stieglitz, gone from our sight, but present with the Lord.
Tom was preceded in death by his step-father, Frank Scheuring, his mother, Inez Irene (Lewis) Scheuring, his spouse Jean (Scheuring) Stieglitz, and his brother, Robert Stieglitz. He is survived by his sons and their spouses, Karl Chester and Donna (Schultz) Stieglitz of Dubuque, IA, John Franklin and Jan (Bronson) Stieglitz of Sharpsville, IN, William Elton “Wes” and Jody (Opelt) Stieglitz of Greenwood, WI, and daughter Anne Marie (Stieglitz) Weger of Santa Barbara, CA. His grandchildren are Laura Stieglitz, Amy (Stieglitz) Eby, Daren Stieglitz, Karl Stieglitz, Micah Stieglitz, Nicholas “Nick” Stieglitz, Louis “Louie” Stieglitz, Eric Stieglitz, Paul Stieglitz, and Michelle (Stieglitz) Slemec. His great-grandchildren are Mason Stieglitz, Madison, Stieglitz, Allison Stieglitz, Drew Stieglitz, Reed Stieglitz, Eva Stieglitz, Eden Stieglitz, Landin Slemec, Joseph Slemec, Caleb Slemec, Collin Slemec, Enoch Eby, and Micah Eby.
A celebration of life will take place in the future once it is deemed safe to once again travel and gather together. An update regarding the arrangements will be published at that time. In lieu of flowers, Tom can be remembered with donations made to: Unity Shoppe 1209 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA. 93101 (unityshoppe.org)