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Obituary for Thomas J. Volk

Thomas J. “Tom” Volk, 63, of La Crosse, passed away November 28, 2022, at his home.

He was born January 28, 1959, in Girard, Ohio, to Thomas Ivan and Rose (Criscione) Volk. Tom attended John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio and was a member of the Squire’s Junior Military Band from the age 12 to 21; following this membership he served as an instructor for them for many years. He attended Ohio University graduating with a degree in botany. Tom then attended University of Wisconsin Madison Doctoral Program for eight years, graduating with his PhD in Mycology. He then moved to La Crosse and began his professorship at University of Wisconsin La Crosse where he was still employed at his time of passing.

Tom was a strong and longtime supporter of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. He was a longtime member and past president of the Mycological Society of America (MSA) as well as member and participant in other mycological societies throughout the country. Tom was very well known in the field of mycology. Of particular interest to him was engaging everyone in the love of mushrooms, professional or amateur.

Tom endured a myriad of illnesses, He was often heard to brag "the doctor's here say I'm a textbook case," In 2006 Tom received a heart transplant. He was indescribably grateful to the anonymous donor; without them, he never would have had the years he had. Tom traveled around speaking and educating as, “The Professor With Two Hearts.” Tom always gave credit to the donor when someone thanked him for all he had done for them; the donor not only saved Tom’s life, but helped mold young minds and curate future scientists.

Survivors include his sister, Rosanne (Jack) Rogers of Ohio and the thousand of students and friends whose lives he touched.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents.

A celebration of Tom’s life will be held at a later date when it is warm. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred and may be directed to The Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, Mycological Society of America (MSA), or the University of Wisconsin La Crosse Botany Department.