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Thomas Vieli, 65

May 29, 2013

Thomas Vieli, 65, of Punxsutawney, died Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at Punxsutawney Area Hospital.

Born April 30, 1948, in Ilanz, Switzerland, he was the son of the late Thomas Josef and Maria Ursula (Derungs) Vieli.

On April 8, 2000, he married Denise Dennison.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Michelle Studer and husband Antonio of Ottenbach, Switzerland and Rhonda Dennison Mazur and husband David of Ashburn, Va.; four grandchildren, Ashley Studer and Zachary, Jackson and Jessica Mazur; one sister, Marianne Welter and husband Heinz of Laax, Switzerland; and two brothers, Herman Vieli and wife Agnes, and Marius Vieli and wife Rita of Switzerland.
Chef Thomas attended college in Ilanz, Switzerland. His apprenticeship was for professional chef training at the College of Zurich Switzerland. He was also a graduate of the Zurich College of Hotel Management in Zurich, Switzerland and served as a Sergeant Major of the Swiss High Mountaineers.

Chef Thomas moved to the United States in 1991 and on Dec. 4, 2002, became a naturalized citizen.

Throughout his 30-year career, Chef Thomas held executive corporate chef/instructor and management positions worldwide. From 2003 until the time of his death, he oversaw the Hospitality Program as the lead instructor at Potomac State College of West Virginia University. He previously worked as an executive chef and culinary arts instructor at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., and at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Punxsutawney. Chef Thomas also served as corporate chef for BKI Worldwide at Standex International.

Chef Thomas was an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef, a Certified Culinary Educator, a National Restaurant Association Certified ServSafe Certification Instructor and an Approved Certified Evaluator. He belonged to the honor society of the American Academy of Chefs and also was a member of the Golden Cepes Order. In addition to students, employees, community members and alumni of the colleges and universities where he worked, Chef Thomas prepared meals for dignitaries both stateside and abroad.

He was a member of the Lions Club International, Keyser, WV Chapter; a member Chain des Rotisseurs, Northern Virginia Chapter; and a member of the Wine Confederation of the State of Wallis, Switzerland.

Friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. today and from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 31, 2013, at Shumaker Funeral Home, Inc., 115 East Union Street, Punxsutawney.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2013, at the funeral home, officiated by Pastor Don Pendley. Interment will follow at Circle Hill Cemetery, Punxsutawney.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Thomas's memory to the Punxsutawney Area Hospital, 81 Hillcrest Dr., Punxsutawney, PA 15767.

Online condolences may be made at

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