David Paul Schreier

As the weathered leaves gracefully descend from the trees and the John Deere combine completes the final harvest, a Tomah farmer reflects on a life rich in seasons, transitioning to God’s glorious and infinitely greener pastures.

David Paul Schreier died Saturday, Dec. 3, 2023, with his family by his side. He was born to Peter and Hilda (Heilman) on Feb. 22, 1939, and one of eight siblings, he was raised amidst the simple charms of Norwalk. Rooted in a robust Catholic faith, Dave spent four formative years at the La Crosse Catholic Seminary during high school. Even in his youth, Dave exhibited remarkable ambition, juggling multiple roles as a milk hauler, flatbed truck driver, and farmer alongside his father.

In 1959, Dave married Violet Hoffman, embarking on the journey of parenthood with the blessing of four children. His dedication to his family led him to make a living as a dairy farmer. With his tireless work ethic, business acumen, and an unwaveringly honest handshake, he began his next venture in 1965 in partnership with his brother, Dick, laying the foundation for what would become a thriving enterprise to include Schreier Implement, Schreier Oil, and Schreier’s Lawn and Sports. 

Dave’s passions extended beyond the fields; his love for local tractor pulling manifested on the national stage in 1975 with his John Deere pulling tractor. His mechanical prowess and fervor for the sport earned him the title of NTPA Grand National Champion in the 7,000-pound Super Stock class in 1980 with his John Deere 4320 “Green Power Special.”

Dave’s more formidable impact in the sport of pulling came from his involvement behind-the-scenes, which included creating new events, promoting pulling and entertainment events, and stewarding the foremost sanctioning body in tractor pulling – National Tractor Pullers Association/World Pulling Inc. (NTPA/WPI). A pillar of the community, Dave, along with his brother Dick, initiated two local tractor pulls to raise funds for local charitable organizations — the Norwalk tractor pull in 1967 and the Tomah tractor pull in 1976 — setting enduring standards for national events. These endeavors sprang from Dave’s generous spirit, reflected in his 55 years of dedicated service to the Norwalk Lions Club and Monroe County Agricultural Society Board. Dave was the driving force behind bringing the NTPA super national pull and national entertainment acts to the small town of Tomah. Through his role in promoting pulling events with Jimmy Jay and Lou Robin, Johnny Cash’s manager, he became friends with Johnny Cash.

In 1983, Dave married his soulmate in Christine, expanding his family to a blended seven children. Dave’s impact on tractor pulling escalated further when he took on a leadership role in the reorganization of NTPA, founding World Pulling International in 1985. Elected CEO and serving as executive director, he remained at the helm until 2019. In 1986, he relocated to Ohio for professional responsibilities; Dave yearned for the familiar embrace of Wisconsin and returned to Tomah when technology allowed him to balance business with the pastoral serenity of his farm. Dave never tired of watching his beloved cows roam the hills of his farm just south of town.

Together Dave and Christine built a close-knit family in their Tomah home and traveled the country, creating memories to last a lifetime, particularly enjoying celebrations of important milestones for family and friends. Affectionately known as Grampy, he instilled the values of hard work and family in his descendants. Working tirelessly until the age of 80, Dave continued to sell tractors locally, raise cattle, and contribute to WPI. Up until his final days, he continued to farm crops side-by-side with his son, Chris, and his grandson, Brennon. His large physical stature and resonant voice were a perfect match for his dignified and honorable nature.

Dave leaves behind a legacy as a mentor, farmer, businessman, community advocate, devout Catholic contributing many hours to various committees at St. Mary’s Church in Tomah, and, above all, a kind, loving, and wise family patriarch and friend. He was recognized with numerous awards, including the Tomah Chamber of Commerce 1982 Member of the Year, 2018 Community Service Award, Lions Club “Melvin Jones Fellowship” award, and 2014 NTPA Hall of Fame inductee.

Dave is survived by his wife, Christine; his brother, Peter (Nancy) Schreier; his sister-in-law, Joyce Schreier; his children, Kim (Esdon) Lehn, Christopher (Leslie) Schreier, Cathy (Del) Salathe, Karen Schreier, Debbie (Denny) Antony, Robert (Cindy) Likely, and Shelly (Dale) Trowbridge; his grandchildren, Nicole (Steven) Concordia, Whitney (Cal) Dittmar, Emilee Kaupp-Lehn, Austin Schreier, Devyn Schreier, Kendra (Zach) Snyder, Kayla (Nik) Salathe, Brianna (Blake) Borst, Cassie (Ron) Path, Brennon (Ashley) Path, Jeremy (Natalie) Likely, Kristen (Bill) Likely, and Dena (Aaron) Trowbridge; 18 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Dave was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Hilda Schreier; his siblings, Albin “Dick” Schreier, Agnes (Robert) Raymond, Helen (Lloyd) Stiehl, Virginia (Ed) Beechler, Philip Schreier, and Caroline Schreier; and his grandchildren, Matthew Small and Benjamin Path.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at The Queen of the Apostle Parrish at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 303 W. Monroe St., Tomah.  Monsignor David C. Kunz will officiate.  Burial will be at a later date.

Relatives and friends are invited to call on Saturday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church from 9 a.m. until the time of the service.  The service will be streamed through the Queen of the Apostle’s YouTube page.

A celebration of David’s life will be held immediately following the Mass, starting at 12 p.m. Saturday at Tomah Recreation Park, 1625 Butts Ave. Come and join us for food and to share memories and stories. All are invited to attend. 

Online condolences may be sent to www.sonnenburgfamilyfh.com.  The Sonnenburg Family Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements. 

 The family tequests that memorials be made in David’s name to Tomah Health: Hospice Touch & Life Choices Palliative Care, 601 Straw St., Tomah, WI 54660; Monroe County Ag Society, P.O. 908, Tomah, WI 54660; St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 303 W. Monroe St.; or a donation of your choosing in David’s memory.

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