Timothy “TJ” John Vande Wettering went to his heavenly home on March 27, 2022 at the age of 57, surrounded by his family after a tough battle with cancer. His battle with non hodgkin's large b cell lymphoma and all of the complications that came along with it the past almost two years, showed his true courage in facing life's challenges. Despite everything he had to go through he stayed strong until the very end. He always lived by the motto, “there is no such thing as can’t” and he lived by this up until he truly couldn’t any longer.
Tim was born on May 21, 1964 to James and Elizabeth Vande Wettering. He found the love of his life Brenda (Colson) and they were married on July 28, 1989. They had two children that Tim couldn’t have been more proud of Brittni (Le Noble) and Taylor. The picture of Tim for his obituary is one where he looks genuinely happy, he wasn’t much of a picture guy. This is because in this picture he and Brenda are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Maiden Lake Supper Club. Tim was happy to find someone that could put up with his shenanigans. Brenda always said Tim was a pain in the butt, but he was her pain in the butt.
Tim was an extremely hard worker all of his life. Right after high school he started doing auto body work. For a few years he did it out of a shed located behind his parent’s house. He then built and moved into the original TJ’s Autobody Shop in August of 1989. Tim was building the auto body shop right around the time he and Brenda were getting married. Tim would tell Brenda, “You take care of the wedding plans and I’ll take care of building the shop.” And he did. The shop was finished just in time for him to move in the Monday following their honeymoon! TJ’s AutoBody is still where it originally started and the legacy of it is now being carried out by Tim’s son Taylor whom Tim taught everything he knew.
Tim wasn’t one to sit still. Those that knew him, always knew him to be working on something. As if TJ’s Autobody Shop wasn’t enough to keep him busy he decided to build the Field of Scenes Drive In Movie Theater that is located in Freedom, WI. The Drive In opened up in July of 2003. He had such pride in this place and all that came with it. He wanted to create the space for families to come out and make memories and spend time together and the drive in does just that. Family was Tim’s number one priority.
The simplest things in life brought Tim great joy. He enjoyed spending time up at his cottage on the lake with his family and friends. Around the lake Tim was known to always have his fire going no matter what time of day it was, his music was usually going, sometimes on the louder side, sorry cabin neighbors, and he usually had a project of some sort happening. Nothing made Tim happier than a bunch of people seated around his campfire laughing and telling stories. Anytime someone would try to head home for the night Tim was the first one to jump up and offer them just one more so they would stay just a little longer so the night's fun wouldn’t end.
Bringing happiness and joy to everyone around him was something Tim strived for and succeeded at. He was the best at putting a smile on just about anyone's face no matter the circumstances. This is just one of the many reasons he is loved by so many. Tim always said “It is not what you have, it is who you have. If you don’t have friends and family you don’t have anything.” Tim had a tough, hard exterior to him but if you got to know him you found out that it was just his exterior.
Tim also enjoyed his Wednesday night softball league with his buddies. Brenda didn’t always enjoy those Wednesday nights because she was never sure what time he would be rolling in the door at. Remember the paragraph above where Tim never wanted the night to end? You could also find Tim playing a round or two of golf, he loved the game and sure was good at it, most days!
Tim is survived by his wife, Brenda; children: Brittni Jo, 29 and Taylor James, 26; son-in-law; Jacob Le Noble; parents: James VandeWettering and Elizabeth (Paul) Wilke; siblings: Patti (Dan) Coenen and Sam VandeWettering; in-law’s: Robert and Lois Colson; sister-in-law: Dawn (Walter) Delaney; nieces and nephew: Craig and Zoe VandeWettering, Natalie (Bruno) Perez, George Coenen; grandchildren: Chloe, Kason and Camden Le Noble; his dog Owen and many other family members and special friends. Tim was preceded in death by grandparents; Jack & Marie VandeWettering, Joe & Verna Geurts, and his Godparents; Gary & Patty VandeWettering.
A celebration of Tim’s life will take place on his birthday, Saturday, May 21, 2022. To honor his wishes, the celebration will be held at the Fieldhouse, N3712 Hwy 55, Freedom. Tim was so proud of what he built there that’s its only appropriate that family and friends gather there to honor him. The celebration will begin at 3:00 p.m. and will conclude when his friends decide it’s time to go home. For online condolences, please visit www.verkuilenfh.com.
Tim’s family would like to express a special thank you to the Oncology staff with the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center at Aurora in Green Bay, especially Dr Patel and his team, as well as the staff at Aurora St Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee for the compassionate and special care they gave to Tim.
One of the last decent days Tim had in the hospital he was looking out the window and randomly said if he ever got to pick a superpower he would want to fly. Well Dad, you’ve got those wings so now you can soar. Until we meet again.
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