Anthony (Tony) Michael Lochinger blessed us with 80+ years on this plane, fought a courageous fight with emphysema late in life, and succumbed to COVID 19 after a 5 day battle at ThedaCare Memorial Regional Center in Neenah, WI, where he received the kindest and best of care. This is a fact of his final days but surely not the sum of the days the Lord wrote for him before he was formed in his mother’s womb.
Born in West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, IL, he grew up in Des Plaines Illinois where his parents, Anton and Johanna Lochinger, moved a house from a squatters plot on O’Hare Field to the permanent site in Des Plaines where they made their home. It was surrounded by open fields which provided endless adventures, long before there were subdivisions and malls to change that landscape. He was schooled in a two room building with each grade in a row and figured out his own methods of learning, despite learning disability challenges before they had a name, and teachers that kept forcing this left handed boy to write with the acceptable right hand.
He was a star baseball pitcher in high school eventually playing in the inaugural year of the Northern Illinois Amateur Baseball league. His first job was working for International Harvester where he cost them millions of dollars in recall and repairs of a truck in which he placed one part in backwards. Those trucks had already been shipped all over the world. After investigating him as an enemy agent in the factory, they cleared him of all wrongdoing because every single vehicle he had worked on had the same error. They believed he had been poorly trained and had no nefarious plans toward the company. Whew! He left IH and began as a laborer in for a plaster company, and finally settled in at Western Drywall when the drywall industry began to replace plaster. He became skilled in his trade and eventually went on his own and worked as a sole proprietor in the drywall business for many years in Illinois and Wisconsin. Tony trained many young men in the drywall trade who then went on to form their own businesses. When he moved to Redgranite, WI, he formed Tony’s Drywall where his trademark craftsmanship still exists in many homes in Waushara and Green Lake Counties. He finally retired in 2017, at 77 years of age, due to declining health. Through those years he formed strong relationships with his employees and builders because beyond business, he considered many of them friends.
In 1961 he married Brenda A. Lochinger and they brought 3 beautiful daughters into the world. He and Brenda drifted apart and divorced amicably in 1983. In 1984 he remarried when he fell in love and made a covenant before the Lord to a lifetime relationship with his sweetheart, Sam Lochinger. Their marriage was filled with hard work, faith, family, love and laughter because Tony and Sam both became sober from drugs and alcohol within a year of each other before they were married. That decision, as well as surrendering their lives to the gift of salvation they found in Jesus, cemented and grounded their commitment to each other.
Tony loved the farm property he called home and created a refuge where he filled his time with hunting, fishing, golf and his beloved passion for learning and playing stringed instruments. He was a man who had a great sense of humor, always joking or thinking of crazy pranks to pull. He loved the Waushara Community church where he grew in his love and knowledge of the Lord and invested his drywall talents in their expansion projects. His greatest joy was spending time with his daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren, watching them grow, praying for and loving them in every stage of their lives.
Tony is survived by his wife, Sandra (Sam) Lochinger; former wife, Brenda (John) Bronk; his children Susan (Joe) Swendrzynski, Shari (Billy) Cavette, Kaylee (Jeff) Howell; grandchildren Johanna Swendrzynski, Tony (Misty Guyette) Lochinger Jr., Kaylyn (Adam) Schimelpfenig, Jacqui ( Michael) Chmiel, Audrey Howell; great grandchildren Kaiden, Ariyah, Rosie, Natalie, Emersyn, Marlin, Madison, Braxton, Jolyn, Eli, and Jordan; nieces Terry Harrison and Linda Mallon, and more friends than we can list or count. And then there was Buster his little beloved, goofy and faithful dog.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Norbert and Marvin, sister Pat and all of his uncles and aunts.
He was a survivor. Covid did not win because Tony has been welcomed home by that same savior in whom Tony placed his trust back in 1984. Covid has tried to destroy families, businesses, holidays, education and more but in the end love triumphs over this insidious enemy. Jesus loves us more than this virus hates us and he is the answer to all who are weary and heavy laden. Jesus did not come for people who believe they are doing just fine. He came for the sick and broken hearted who recognize their sinful separation from God. He provides redemption and eternal life with God and will give you rest now and in eternity.
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