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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Sergeant
Age: 53
Year of Death: 2023

Thomas A. Petschke Jr.

Sergeant Thomas A. “Tom” Petschke Jr. was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He was 53 years old when he responded to his last call. Tom was part of a loving family growing up, including his father and mother, Thomas Petschke Sr. and Gail Petschke, and his older sisters, Cheryl (Steffan) and Christine (Ruffner). He was married to Colleen Petschke for just under 30 years. Tom was the very proud father of two college-aged children, Matthew and Megan Petschke. Tom had always dreamed of being a firefighter and fulfilled that dream in 2013.

Tom earned an associate degree in science at Erie Community College in Buffalo in 1990. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University. He obtained his private pilot’s license during this time. Once in the working world, Tom earned a Master of Business Administration at the University of Iowa.

Tom worked as a project manager or plant manager for several multinational companies in South Carolina, Iowa, Indiana, Virginia, and Kentucky. He dreamed of owning his own company and, in 2018, he started that venture in Crestwood, Kentucky. Tom owned and operated Industrial Turnkey Solutions, LLC. It offered engineering consulting services that took Tom all over the United States and was also a rigging company which moved heavy machinery. Tom also started up a hobby business, Petschke Pick, LLC. Petschke Picks are toothpicks made from bourbon barrel staves. Tom claimed they were the only toothpicks that were made in America.

Tom was a volunteer firefighter for ten years and a Rotarian for over 15 years. He ushered at his church for over ten years as well. He went out of his way to help anyone in need and enjoyed doing so. Tom loved anything with wheels. He enjoyed driving hot rods and attending car shows. He loved the outdoors; one of his favorite things to do was camping in the woods in central New York with friends and family.

If you knew Tom, you knew he was an exceptionally hard worker. If he had a goal, he would attain it. He had a fierce energy and was always “productive,” one of his favorite words to live by. He was a loyal family man who treasured spending time with his wife and children. He was also a loyal friend with a fun sense of humor, and he had a strong bond with those to whom he was close. Tom loved being a firefighter and was proud to volunteer for the Ballardsville Fire Department. He is sorely missed.

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