New Richmond:
(715) 243-5252  |  
River Falls:
(715) 425-8788

Thomas P. Goerke 11/29/2023

Dr. Thomas “Tom” P. Goerke, of River Falls, WI, died peacefully in his sleep at home on his farm November 29, 2023 at age 77 after a rich full life of doing what he loved.
Tom was born to Leroy and Evelyn (Brierton) Goerke on September 5,1946 in Waukesha, WI. He graduated from Catholic Memorial High School and went on to study Animal Science at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, where he discovered his true calling as an educator.
After receiving his PhD from University of Kentucky-Lexington, Tom had a long and successful-career spanning more than three decades teaching in the Animal Science department at his alma mater UWRF. He served as adviser to the Block and Bridle Club, coached the wool judging team, and participated in a number of UW Extension activities. He also has conducted continuing research on the influence of maternal genotype on Wisconsin beef production.
Tom was named Outstanding Teacher of the year multiple times by students from the College of Agriculture. 1981 he was presented with the most prestigious award bestowed on campus; the UWRF Distinguished Teacher Award, a once-in-a-career honor recognizing excellence in teaching.
Tom took great pride in challenging his students, and his unique teaching style inspired many of them to exceed expectations in the classroom, and beyond. Tom was always excited to hear about the success of his former pupils and could easily recall a story or two about most from their days on campus or at the university farm lab. Not surprisingly, several former students became life-long friends.
Tom met the love of his life, Anne E. Wojciechowski in Spring of 1975. Anne wasn’t able to resist Tom’s wit and charm, the 1969 Camero Indy 500 pace-car convertible he drove didn’t hurt either.
They married June 19, 1987, at St. Bridget Catholic Church.
Besides teaching about animals, Tom, along with his wife Anne, raised pure-bred Shropshire sheep for 20 years, and he enjoyed showing them at the Wisconsin and Minnesota State Fairs. For some family members, sheep running over to the fence to get fed or riding the university horses being boarded for the summer are their favorite memories of “Uncle Tom with the sheep.”
After he retired from teaching and from sheep, Tom enjoyed growing produce and flowers for the River Falls Farmer’s Market. Although he was a prolific cultivator, Tom was particularly known for his gladiolas, radishes and green onions, which led to him acquiring two more of his many nicknames, the “Radish Rancher” and “Scallion Stallion.” Something that surely appealed to Tom’s great sense of humor.
In all parts of his life, Tom did what he loved, and because he loved the people it allowed him to be around, he will be sorely missed by all of us whose lives he touched.
Tom is preceded in death by parents Leroy and Evelyn Goerke; sister, LuAnn (Goerke) Killeen; father-in-law, Joseph Wojciechowski; and brother-in-law, John Wojciechowski.
Tom is survived by his loving wife Anne (Wojciechowski); and mother-in-law, Isabelle (Pac) Wojciechowski; brothers-in-law; sisters-in-law; and nieces and nephews.
Friends and family visited Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services (805 E Division Street) in River Falls on Friday, December 8, 2023, from 9:30 am until 11:30 am with funeral service to follow at 11:30 am. Interment took place in St. Bridget’s Catholic Cemetery, River Falls.
The family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of contribution to the UWRF College of Agriculture, or charity of your choice. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.

Click here to watch the recording of Thomas’ service.


  • Jodie Pennington Posted December 5, 2023 2:33 pm

    I was so sorry to hear about Tom. My condolences to Anne and her family and friends.
    Sincerely, Jodie Pennington, Coppell, Texas.

  • David Lenzmeier – Minneapolis Posted December 5, 2023 5:31 pm

    What a great teacher and advisor to so many. He inspired so many students.

  • Siri J. Smith Posted December 9, 2023 3:27 pm

    Tom was such a good neighbor here in the South Fork Valley and he will be missed.

  • Linda Mae Jaworski-Pecht Posted December 29, 2023 10:29 pm

    Anne I was so saddened to learn about the unexpected loss of your husband Tom. From the obit it sounded like he was a wonderful man who touched the lives of so many and had such a positive effect on their lives. My sincere condolences to you my friend.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *