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Thomas John Schlereth
March 23, 1941 ~ November 11, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old
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Thomas John Schlereth was born on March 23, 1941 on Troy Hill in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on the north hills of Pittsburgh; he died at the Raclin House on the St.Joseph River in Indiana on November 11, 2023. He was the eldest child of what would be John and Gertrude Schlereth’s five children. Educated at his local parish school and North Catholic High School, he left the hills of Pennsylvania for the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 1959, to become a graduate of the Class of 1963. He went on to take a Master’s degree in History at the University of Wisconsin, taught briefly at Fairfield University in New England and returned to the Midwest to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa.
In 1968 at the Newberry Library in Chicago he met his future wife, Wendy Clauson. They would marry in 1973 and spend the remainder of their professional lives at the University of Notre Dame, where Tom rose quickly to become a full professor of American Studies. His scholarly awards and recognitions would take pages to recount; he was a prolific author, a much sought after lecturer and consultant, and a dedicated teacher.
In 1983 his only son, Lars Thomas Schlereth was born. Tom and Wendy raised him on their historic farmstead in Granger, and watched him grow in both body and mind to become a truly interesting and caring man. Lars was joined in marriage to Alexandra Morais in 2018, and a year later they gave Tom his grandson, Gustav, who was the joy of his last years.
Tom was perhaps best characterized by his mother-in-law, who would repeat with absolute conviction to anyone who would listen that he “was a fine man.” Which was certainly true. He was also a very private man, and for all his public achievements, he never wanted anyone other than his wife to know of his private struggles. Undoubtedly, this made the burdens he carried much heavier to bear, but that was Tom. In keeping with his wishes, he will be cremated, and services will be private. His ashes will rest in Cedar Grove Cemetery.
Anyone wishing to remember Tom may contribute in his name to the Raclin House, Center for Hospice Care in Mishawaka. It is a facility for which this community can be proud, its staff exemplary. The family is grateful for all they did in his final days to make his passing as bearable as possible for all concerned.