Vicki Jo Tomlinson
December 17, 1958 – November 8, 2023
Vicki Jo Tomlinson, 64, passed away peacefully at home on November 8, 2023 after a courageous two-year battle with Glioblastoma. Vicki was born in Omaha, NE on December 17, 1958 to Joseph and Lavonne Gerlt. During her childhood she loved being outdoors, attending summer camp, volunteering as a candy striper at the hospital, and serving as a camp counselor at Carol Joy Holling in Ashland, NE. She attended Northwest High School (Class of 1977) in Omaha, where she played basketball and volleyball, cheered in the spirit squad, and played baritone in the Omaha all-city band.
Vicki fell in love with her husband Richard Lee Tomlinson Jr. while attending Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. Upon graduating with degrees in Math and Computer Science, Vicki and Lee were married on June 13, 1981 and moved to Omaha, NE. Vicki worked at HDR as a systems analyst until 1987 when she decided to stay at home full-time to raise her growing family. Once her kids were old enough, Vicki was a fixture at school, volunteering for everything from PTA to room parent to field trip chaperone.
As her kids grew older, Vicki began to tackle new challenges. She served as the Youth and Family Coordinator at Lutheran Church of the Master, leading Sunday School, children’s choirs, and other youth programming. She went back to school to obtain her education degree and Nebraska teaching license. She began teaching middle school math at Westside Middle School in 2001, kicking off a 20-year teaching career that allowed her to touch the lives of countless students. All the while, Vicki remained passionately engaged in her most treasured roles of wife, mother, and grandmother.
Vicki’s family was her greatest joy and passion. Her love for Lee and their marriage of 42 years remains an inspiration. She was a dedicated mother who pushed her children to become the best versions of themselves while also being a rock of emotional support and stability. But nothing could compete with the love she felt in 2012 when she became a grandmother. As she once told a friend, she thought she loved her kids – then she had grandkids.
In 2011, Lee and Vicki started an annual family vacation tradition. With all of her children living in different states, Vicki believed it was important to make opportunities for uninterrupted family time. As her family grew throughout the years, so too did the importance of that time spent together. Oftentimes these were not busy, fast-paced trips; rather, they were low-key, full of snuggling up and reading children’s books, large family-style dinners, and playing in the pool. Her family will forever cherish these memories.
Vicki’s life changed dramatically on July 27, 2021 when she suffered a grand mal seizure and was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (brain cancer). After her diagnosis, Vicki continued to live life to its fullest. She attended countless games, recitals, and events for her seven grandkids, and traveled across the country, including to Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Arizona, and Idaho to celebrate the marriage of her youngest son. Vicki also found joy in the small moments of everyday life – family dinners, calls and visits with loved ones, and evening walks with Lee and their dog, Gunner.
This past July Vicki completed the Omaha Head for the Cure 5K while in the middle of a second round of radiation treatment – a testament to the strength and determination with which she fought back against the disease that ultimately took her life. For her courage and tenacity, she was awarded Head for the Cure’s “Keeping the Faith” award, which recognizes extraordinary individuals fighting brain cancer. Vicki’s battle with Glioblastoma was indeed heroic and extraordinary. Throughout her fight, her faith sustained her, allowing her to live a life anchored in hope and overflowing with joy. We are comforted knowing that she now rests eternally at peace, embraced in the loving arms of Jesus Christ.
Vicki was preceded in death by her father, Joseph Gerlt. She is survived by her devoted husband, Lee; children: Brandon (Johanna), Amanda Steinbrink (Nick), and Ryan (McKenna); grandchildren: Margaret, Abram, Joelle, Eleanor, Isaiah, Jonah, and Edwin; mother, Lavonne Gerlt; sister, Connie Hacker (Rick); and her beloved dog, Gunner.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday, November 14th from 4-6 PM at Heafey Hoffman Dworak & Cutler, 7805 West Center Road, with a memorial service immediately following at 6 PM. A private family interment will be held at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Brain Tumor Network (https://www.braintumornetwork.org/donate/) or the Head for the Cure Foundation (https://give.headforthecure.org/team/467840) in Vicki’s honor would be greatly appreciated. In remembrance of Vicki, the family also encourages friends and family to participate in the 2024 Omaha Head for the Cure 5K (to be held on Saturday, July 20th, 2024 at Zorinsky Lake Park, see http://headforthecure.org/omaha for more details).