February 7, 1965 – May 7, 2020
Thomas Gatscher passed away in his sleep Wednesday night May 6 in St. Petersburg. He was just 55 years old. Most of his friends in the US played in one of the area community bands with him. You may know Thomas as the quiet Sousaphone player in the marching band or as the Tuba player in the community band. He cooked for you his authentic German recipes at the band’s Oktoberfest and built the Second Time Arounders portable bar from scraps. To the fortunate few that got to know him well, he was anything but quiet. Thomas moved to St. Petersburg from Retzbach Germany in 2014 where he was a big box hardware store manager and mobile bakery entrepreneur. He played in his beloved Moderner Spielmanns- und Fanfarenzug Retzbach, a championship community marching band in Bavaria and beyond. He made trips “home” every year visit and march with them in an event or two. Some of their members came to NYC to support Thomas and the Rounders at Macy’s. He rebuilt a period-home in Retzbach and squeezed-in a basement apartment below his tenants to occasionally stay. Thomas hoped to return to that home one day and retire, if not to sell it for retirement in Florida. He kept many option open. Well-traveled throughout Europe and North America, Thomas applied for the US immigration lottery and “won”. He chose Florida in part after researching “adult marching bands” landing in St. Petersburg after a couple of visits and also considering Portland, OR where there is another large adult marching band. He came to a Rounders rehearsal in 2013 to “check us out”, returned to Retzbach, then made his plans to relocate to Pinellas County. He joined the band in 2014 often wishing the activity were year-round like in Germany. He also joined the St. Petersburg Community Band and was invited to join the Second Winds. In Florida Thomas worked at Publix in Dunedin, selling flooring through JC Penney, then as an advanced handyman remodeling kitchens, bathrooms and the like with his German workmanship; a quality not often found in Florida. He was last living in a St. Pete home he had just renovated top to bottom and was day’s away from purchasing a second one and renting or flipping his current one with a friend & business partner. Thomas enjoyed carpentry and wood-working and was at the beginning of this new career involving that here. He had recently acquired many, many tools. Many of you received his tins of cookies, especially at the Holiday. Thomas loved to bake and bigheartedly shared his German goods and meals with his friends and the bands. An invite to his home for a meal was a special treat, especially on his birthday. Thomas has been to over five-hundred “rock” concerts throughout Europe and the US keeping many of the ticket stubs on a cork-board in his basement apartment back in Retzbach. That basement also housed his extensive vinyl record collection. Just in February Thomas flew to Las Vegas to see The Yardbirds with a friend from South America. He was often at the various concert venues around Tampa Bay when he could be. Thomas is survived by his Mother Elfi and Brother Michael in Wurtzburg, Germany; his many friends in Retzabach, and in the St. Petersburg area. Thomas’s remains will be cremated and returned to his family in Germany. A virtual celebration of life is planned for Saturday, March 16 at 1pm via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82496858033 If you are so inclined and able, in lieu of flowers a fund has been established in Thomas’s name for a yet to be determined project for the bands he plays in. A donation of any size in his memory will be put to good use in one or more of the three bands in Thomas’s name. Donations may be made at: https://thomasgatschermemorial.square.site/
Lee L Lafleur
May 16, 2020
Today we had a beautiful remote "Celebration of Life" service for Thomas on "Zoom" and broadcast on Facebook Live. We so wish we could have been together in person instead but these are different times.
Nearly 100 participants from both the US and Germany participated on Zoom, with another 50-60 watching live on Facebook. Eight hours later his service has been seen nearly 350 times on FB already.
We miss you Thomas.
You can see a little bi more about him from his service at the link below, if you missed us this day.
May 16, 2020
Like many others, I know Thomas the half of my life!
He was a quiet, but really friendly person.
He also never forgot my birthday and send greetings every year.
It is hard to believe.
Rest in Peace!
We miss you Thomas.
May 16, 2020
es war mir eine Ehre mit dir zu musizieren. Du warst nie ein Mensch der großen Worte. Aber du warst eine Seele von Mensch.
Ruhe in Frieden
Für immer unvergessen❤️
May 15, 2020
Thomas is part of my high school memories, and there are plenty.
We shared 9 years of stories, fear and laughter, sitting closed to each other.
But mostly we have a passion in common which is music and we have been a long time members of the same city orchestra.
Wherever You are, let them hear your sound!
May 14, 2020
remembering the good times in school - long time ago - was a brilliant time - very special moments - never forget - all the best on the stairway to heaven