Thomas Edwin Bakke

February 02, 1936 - September 15, 2023


Obituary For Thomas Edwin Bakke

To view the Livestream of Tom's Service, please click the link here:

Thomas Bakke, a longtime resident of both Madison and Menomonee Falls, left his earthly body to join God in Heaven on September 15, 2023, at the age of 87 years. Tom was born in Madison on February 2, 1936, son of the late Wilbur and Irene Bakke and brother of his late sister, Betty. He was a beloved husband to Donna for 56 years and cherished his children, Laura and Jeff, their spouses, Mike and Kelly, and his five granddaughters, Sara, Kylie, Makena, Morgan, and Lydia. Tom will be dearly missed by his sister-in-law Georgia, his cousins, nephews, nieces and other family members, as well as the many friends he made throughout his life.

Growing up in Madison, Tom was a playful, sport-loving child who enjoyed swimming, boxing, playing football, boating, gallivanting around the neighborhood with friends, and occasionally getting into a bit of mischief. As a young adult, Tom served in the army in Fairbanks, Alaska and studied in Dubuque, IA at Loras College and at UW Platteville. Thereafter, he returned to Madison, where he worked for Rennebohm Drug Stores and Sears Roebuck Company and volunteered with the Jaycees.

Tom moved to Milwaukee, but returned to Madison on weekends to party with friends, where he courted Donna and married her two years later in 1967. Tom and Donna first lived together in Milwaukee where he worked as a commercial flooring sales representative. They then moved to Menomonee Falls to start a family. There Tom enjoyed serving in the Optimist Club, Knights of Columbus 4240 and the 4th Degree Our Lady of Holy Hill Assembly. He prided himself in being deeply committed to his family and community, attending his children’s activities, taking care of the family dogs, and volunteering in parades and festivals.

Tom packed many adventures into his days, balancing his pastimes as an easy conversationalist, natural dancer, fearless skier, storyteller, social bowler and golfer. He also enjoyed Brewer and Badger games, camping trips with family and friends, and vacations with Donna.

Tom will be honored in a celebration of life on Friday, September 22, 2023, at Ryan Funeral Home, 2418 N. Sherman Ave., Madison. Visiting hour will be from 10 – 11 a.m. with a prayer service to follow, with Msgr. Larry Bakke officiating. Interment will be at 3 p.m. at St. Mary Mausoleum, N88 W13600 Main St., Menomonee Falls. To view the livestream of Tom’s service or to view and sign the guestbook, please visit In lieu of flowers, donations to the Parkinson Disease Association or the Multiple Sclerosis Society would be appreciated.

Tom always made connections and had something to say or share. Think of the catching up Tom will do now!

Live Stream


22 Sep


10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Ryan Funeral Homes - Madison North East 2418 N. Sherman Avenue Madison, WI 53704 Get Directions »
22 Sep

Prayer Service

11:00 AM

Ryan Funeral Homes - Madison North East 2418 N. Sherman Avenue Madison, WI 53704 Get Directions »
22 Sep


03:00 PM

St. Mary Mausoleum N88 W13600 Main Street Menomonee Falls, WI 53051 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

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  • December 28, 2023

    I am so sorry to hear this news so late, Tom was a wonderful man with a zest for life and a comedic fun loving energy! You will be in my thoughts Donna and family- xoxo Shadae (past Agrace caregiver)

  • September 22, 2023

    Sorry to here this... I first met the Bakke family when I was teaching gymnastics for the Falls Recreatiion Department many years ago. Tom always remembered me and said hi when I ran into them around the Falls. I'll be thinking of Tom's family as they celebrate his life. RIP sir... Don Umhoefer

  • September 22, 2023

    I remember Tom as one who enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing and many spectator sports. He was a fun-loving guy committed to his family and the Menomonee Falls community through his membership in the Optimist Club. - Ed Schlumpf

  • September 21, 2023

    My condolences to the family. I enjoyed skiing and chatting with Tom at the Madison Ski Club outings at Snowmass, CO, back when the club was still a large, active group.

  • September 21, 2023

    Dear Donna and family sorry to hear about Tom's passing . I always enjoyed talking with Tom whether at the hardware store, optimist meeting ,or Badger game. Dean Christianson

  • September 20, 2023

    My sympathies to you Donna and your entire family. Tom and I were golf partners for years in a Senior Men's Golf League, initially at Kettle Hills and then at Ironwood. Lots of fond memories ! Dick Granholm, Elm Grove, WI.

  • September 20, 2023

    Our deepest sympathy to the family. We remember Tom as a neighbor riding his little scooter. Fred and Carol Weber

  • September 18, 2023

    As the current Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus Council 4240 in Menomonee Falls and on behalf of Tom's fraternal brothers we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Donna, family and loved ones. We thank the good lord for his 47 years of service to our fraternal order living his faith on behalf of the many who were recipients of the charity work and many hours of volunteer time he done helping those in need within our community by living his Catholic faith. I was told Tom was a very active member for many years in the council and parish and his service will not be forgotten. God speed brother.

  • September 16, 2023

    Dear Laura and family. Please accept our sincere sympathies. Losing a parent is always difficult. Please know we are sending warm, thoughtful wishes. Mary Ann and Nick Zwaska

  • September 16, 2023

    What a joy it was to get to know Tom through his daughter Laura. I loved that Tom & Donna were at so many of the family events I was included in. Tom always had a story to share and he always made me and other feel welcome. He was a great model of living life fully and valuing those who surrounded him. I'm sending my sympathy to his family and friends. As a person of faith, I believe Tom is enjoying his time in Heaven already! Thank you Laura and Donna and your families for sharing your Dad and his joyful spirit with me! I'm thinking of all of you. Shelley

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Tiffany Foster went out of her way to fulfill all my requests, talked me through problems I was facing, and tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible when I was a wreck, totally crushed, and I thank her with all of my heart for that.

James S. | July 2020

The professional manner of the staff made a difficult time a little easier.

Lynda R. | July 2020

Services provided for both parents were perfect, on time, and no issues. Brenda is awesome and strong!

Michael M. | July 2020

Skyler was absolutely amazing. She was so caring and helpful through this whole process. She even went above and beyond to meet with us in DeForest and even to make a stop at our home to drop off or pick up anything needed. While it was a small gesture, it was so helpful and greatly appreciated.

Brooke S. | Dec. 2020

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