Thomas "Tom" P. Ponty, age 72 of Eau Claire, passed away Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Manila, Philippines.
Tom was born in Madison, Wisconsin, on July 12th, 1946 to Frank Ponty and Esther Ponty (Johnson). He earned a Bachelor of Science (zoology) degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and attained an Industrial Hygiene associate degree from Western Technical College in La Crosse. After college, Tom spent some time in Northern Wisconsin as a logger and beekeeper while eventually finding home in Eau Claire, WI working for the Department of Natural Resources. Tom began his 36 years in the DNR as an Air Management Engineer and a Wastewater Engineer toward the end of his career.
Tom married Shauna Blomquist Lunak on September 12, 1992 and shared 26 years of marriage. In celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary, they traveled to Switzerland and Italy. The highlight of the trip was meeting Tom’s relatives and experiencing the beauty of his paternal grandmother/grandfather’s birthplace in the Italian Alps.
Tom was a wonderful family man, who was generous, kind, and had a vibrant loving energy; always had a big smile for everyone. His generosity carried over to the many causes he researched and believed in. Tom had his priorities right: faith, family and friends were a constant in how he lived his daily life. As a father and grandfather, Tom had a gift in teaching and sharing his love of nature. The grandchildren enjoyed learning about bugs, plants, trees, birds and growing a garden with him. He was lovingly referred to as Papa Tom.
He had a lot of hobbies and interests: Tom was an enthusiastic fly fisherman always willing to flog a new stream, as well as a generous and entertaining tennis/pickle ball partner (pickle ball was a new passion for him and Shauna). In addition, he enjoyed traveling, hiking, gardening and reading/learning about a wide variety of topics. Tom enjoyed walking their dog, Sophie, greeting friends/neighbors on his daily walk.
Tom volunteered regularly at the Beacon House, Community Table, Meals on Wheels and enjoyed days clearing brush for Trout Unlimited and other environmental groups. He was always willing to lend a hand.
Tom will be greatly missed by family and many friends.
He is survived by his wife Shauna, four adult children, and five grandchildren: Laura Ponty, her fiancé Jake Blanchette, both residing in St., Paul, MN, Rafael Ponty, Eau Claire, WI., Jeffery Lunak (Tecla) reside in Palm Desert, CA., Greg Lunak (Kara) reside in Stillwater, MN. Grandchildren include Pitiana, Ariana, Adeus, Owen and Ava, in laws (Keith and Carol Blomquist), brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, nieces/nephews and cousins.
Tom was preceeded in death by his parents and several family members.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Beacon House (email@example.com), Community Table (thecommunitytable.org) and/or Trout Unlimited (https://wctu.com).
Memorial visitation will take place from 3:30 pm - 7:00 pm on Friday, February 8, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church, 2112 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701. Celebration of Life Service will take place at the church on Saturday at 11:00 am with Pastor Kathryn Reid Walker officiating. There will be no visitation on Saturday prior to the service. Visitation will continue at the church following the service Saturday during a luncheon.
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.
Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.