Thomas Tomaw


BARNEVELD, Wis. – Thomas Noel Tomaw, 76, of Barneveld, Wis., died Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, at UW Hospital in Madison following a courageous battle with anaplastic thyroid cancer.

A funeral service is 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Gaffney Cattle Sales Facility, 4888 County Road HH, Barneveld. Interment is Sunday, Nov. 24, at the White Church Cemetery in Barneveld. Visitation is from 10 a.m. until the service time today at the sales facility. Parking is limited and the family asks that as many people as possible use the shuttles located at the Barneveld Lutheran Church parking lot, 505 Swiss Lane, Barneveld. Gunderson Camacho Funeral and Cremation Care, Mount Horeb, Wis., is in charge of the arrangements.

Mr. Tomaw was born Feb. 10, 1943, at Paris, the son of the late Wayne and Lois Claypool Tomaw. He and his wife of 54 years, Phyllis JoAnn (Price), were married on July 24, 1965. She survives.

He is also survived by a son, Michael (Laura) Tomaw of Michigan: a daughter, Deborah (Michael) Igl of Antigo, Wis.; twin granddaughters, Alexandria (Abbie Green) Tomaw of Alabama and Claire Tomaw of Missouri; a sister, Sheree (Donnie) Blanton; sisters and brothers-in-law, Lila Tomaw, Cheryl Tomaw, Elwyn Price, Ed (Liz) Price and Melissa (Chuck) Eldridge; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Charles and James; in-laws Elton and Jewel Price; a sister-in-law, Patricia Shew; a brother-in-law, Marvin Shew; and a nephew.

He graduated from Brocton High School in 1961.

Mr. Tomaw was a devoted husband, father and grandfather, as well as an active and respected member of his community and the livestock industry where he made and maintained multiple friendships.

Growing up on the family farm, Mr. Tomaw helped raise and exhibit Angus cattle, sparking a life-long love of the cattle industry. His passion flourished when the couple moved to Wisconsin in 1969 to manage a purebred Charolais operation for Alex and Marty Stauffer. During his tenure, he helped guide Silver Creek to great success, earning it a reputation as one of the most successful cattle businesses in North America. Over the next 20 years, Mr. Tomaw and the Silver Creek team exhibited cattle across the continent. Silver Creek won multiple state, national and international competitions including being the only farm to win back-to-back national champion bull honors.

Following the dispersal of Silver Creek in 1991, Mr. and Mrs. Tomaw started Tomaw Angus. Tomaw Angus was smaller scale than Silver Creek, but the quality of the cattle was still very important to him. His sales skills turned global when they sold a group of heifer calves to Australia. Tomaw Angus also allowed him to pursue other activities for which he had a passion.

Mr. Tomaw was also a respected cattle judge, overseeing a number of shows including at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo.

He was a former president of the Wisconsin Angus Association as well as a former president of the Iowa County Cattleman’s Association, being named the organization's Cattleman of the Year in 2006. He was also a board member of the Wisconsin Beef Improvement Association and on the executive committee of the Wisconsin Beef Expo.

 In addition to the cattle business, Mr. Tomaw was a former president of the Barneveld School Board and had served on the Barneveld-Brigham Fire Rescue Board.

He enjoyed spending time and visiting with friends and family and was fond of celebrating the holidays where he was known for making his oyster dressing at Thanksgiving and divinity candy at Christmas. His granddaughters were among his biggest joys.

The family gives special thanks to Scott and Val and the entire Gaffney family, as well as all of the nurses and staff who cared for Mr. Tomaw at UW Hospital.

In lieu of flowers, memorials will be distributed to Wisconsin Junior Angus Association leadership activities and anaplastic thyroid cancer research.

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