Cover photo for Thomas Emil Pape's Obituary
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1959 Thomas Emil Pape 2023

Thomas Emil Pape

April 28, 1959 — February 27, 2023

Thomas Emil Pape, 63, of Waterloo, IL, died February 27, 2023, in Waterloo, IL. He was born April 28, 1959, in Red Bud, IL.
            It is with great sorrow and bittersweet gratitude, that we announce the passing of Thomas Emil Pape.  He passed away  on February 27th, 2023 at home surrounded by family and friends.  
Tom's life journey began in Waterloo, Illinois where he attended Gibault High School.  His creative drive and talent led him to Southern Illinois University where he obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Product Design followed by graduate studies in Environmental Design.  Despite leaving Monroe County, Tom was a farm boy at heart.  College summers were spent farming down in the bottom of Valmeyer where he prided himself on baling hay and farming pigs.
            After graduating from college, Tom worked in Illinois as a technical advisor for the Peace Corp.  He then moved to Los Angeles and later San Francisco. where he worked with several companies developing and managing water and energy conservation programs.  In the past twenty years, Tom served as a Principal of his own consulting company, Best Management Partners.  He was a well-known  and passionate water and energy efficiency expert who made many important contributions to the world of efficient resource use.  An early advocate and trainer of water and energy efficiency practices, he was instrumental in the creation and support of numerous codes and standards that greatly improved efficient water use;  he provided guidance on implementation of water efficiency programs for countless water utilities, and he lent technical support to a large number of organizations, including the California Urban Water Conservation Council, the Alliance for Water Efficiency, IAPMO, ANSI, and the Green Building Institute.  His career took him around the world where he experienced and treasured the many different cultures and people he met. 
            His love of country life brought him back to Monroe Country in 2005 along with his wife Valerie and son Gabriel.  He always referred to his farm as 16 acres of his own personal "Green Acres".  He relished being able to plant a fruit tree orchard along with several of his favorite trees and fishing in his own pond. He loved planting vegetables, fruits and cultivating all of his plants, not to mention the thrill of daily battle with the critters vying for his harvest.  It was a challenge that  he was always up for, despite being a losing battle.   He remained committed to keeping nature as God intended it.
            Tom was a true "Renaissance Man".  His passion and knowledge of music was endless, with his styles ranging from classic country, punk rock, metal and rock and roll  His own paintings and sculptures showcased his artistic abilities and were sure to leave an impression with those who saw them.  He was an avid homebrewer  and won several World Cup of Beer competition ribbons.  He was known for his eclectic brews including rose petal beer and rhubarb beer.  One of his most memorable beers was brewed for a water conservation tradeshow.  Wanting to draw attention to their booth, he labeled it with "SAVE WATER, DRINK BEER".  Needless to say, their booth was very popular.  He was also a winemaker and looked forward to harvest season, especially because it meant it was time shared with family and friends.  Those fortunate enough to enjoy a meal with Tom, know what a great cook he was.  He loved cooking everything from his homemade pork sausage, to grilled tri-tip and paella.  There were no boundaries when he was in the kitchen.  
            He was never afraid to take a stand for what he believed in, and would debate his beliefs with vigor.  He lived his daily life with intention, dignity, honor and the courage to capture his dreams, small and large.  Tom was a devoted husband, nurturing and protective father, a dedicated brother and friend that could be called upon day or night.  He leaves countless friends, colleagues, confidantes and family behind.  He has touched all of us in many ways.  He was a simple, yet complex man and we all treasured something different in him that has inspired us.  He left us too soon.
    He is survived by his wife Valerie Pape, nee Matias; son Gabe Adad; sister and brothers Mary Kay (Michael) Dreps, Robert (Donna) Pape, and Gerald (Karen Waterman) Pape; brother-in-law Jon Rudisill; aunt Shirley (Don) Mehrmann, goddaughter Bethany Reinhold; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law; nieces; nephews; cousins; and friends.
    He is preceded in death by his parents Gilbert R. & Delphine (nee Mehrtens) Pape; sister Victoria Rudisill; and brother-in-law Mark Reinhold.


As an expression of sympathy the family prefers memorial contributions to: 
Human Support Services of Monroe County

Please join us on Sunday, March 12th 1:00-5:00 PM for an Open House to share "Reflections of Tom".
Location: The VIEW at 11 South, 5th Floor - 1000 11 South, Columbia, IL  62236

For those unable to join us, there will be a Celebration of Life this coming May/June at Maeystown Park.  Arrangements are pending.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Emil Pape, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Open House

Sunday, March 12, 2023

1:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

Open house to take place at the VIEW on the 5th floor.

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