Thomas Charles Bruegger, 73, of Mankato, Minnesota and formerly of Onawa, Iowa, died December 6, 2021, at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minnesota.
A Celebration of Life is planned for the spring of 2022 in Onawa, Iowa. Northview-North Mankato Mortuary is assisting the family. Please share a memory of Tom at www.mankatomortuary.com.
Tom was born December 14, 1947 to Robert and Betty (Heinecke) Bruegger, in Burlington, Iowa. He graduated from Notre Dame High School in Burlington in 1966. On December 27, 1969, he married Shirley Siefken. Together they raised two daughters, Rebecca and Tori.
From 1969 to 1972, Tom served in the US Army at Camp Zama in Japan as an X-Ray Technician during the Vietnam War. Following his honorable discharge as a Specialist Five, Tom and Shirley moved back from Japan and lived in Macomb, Illinois while Tom attended Western Illinois University. Following graduation, he was hired as the Director of the Monona County Conservation Board. He served in that position for 27 years. He also attended Iowa Law Enforcement Academy at Camp Dodge, served in the AEA 12 Board for 18 years, and helped contribute to the Loess Hills Prairie Scenic Byway. Tom continued his work as an x-ray technician part-time at Burgess Health Center in Onawa through the years and after his retirement from the county.
Tom had a true passion for the environment. His pride and joy was raising awareness of the Loess Hills of Western Iowa. He enjoyed telling the history, leading hikes, and giving bus tours through the hills. He was well known for his “Skulls, Bones and Fur” class he presented during the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar and in elementary classrooms in the area.
In his free time over the years, Tom enjoyed hiking the Loess Hills, helping with the local boy scout troop, rehabilitating orphaned wild animals, bird watching, growing trees at their tree farm in Mapleton, Iowa, making wine, and spending time with his family, especially his wife and grandchildren.
Tom is survived by his daughters, Rebecca (Jody) Habinck of Mankato and Tori (Greg) Funk of Sibley, Iowa; grandchildren, Lukas, Alexander, and Elizabeth Habinck and Seth and Maci Funk; siblings, Robert (Alice) Bruegger, Christine (Jim) Winn, Susan (Byron) Kentner, Joseph (Judi) Bruegger, and Daniel (Tammy) Bruegger; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Shirley in 2016; sister-in-law, Joanne Bruegger; infant son, Luke; and infant sister, Mary.