Thomas H. Bilodeau, Jr. passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 15, 2017 in Rockland, MA. He was 75 years old. He enjoyed an eventful and impactful life, always living each moment to the fullest. A powerful intellect and gifted athlete, Tom was a force to be reckoned with on and off the field.
Born in Boston in 1942, Tom grew up in Milton and summered in Hull. He graduated from Boston Latin in 1960 having left his mark as one of the more storied New England athletes of his era. He later would be inducted into the Boston Latin Hall of Fame and the Boston Park League Hall of Fame. After a post-graduate year at Exeter, Tom entered Harvard College, where he became a three-sport athlete and set several Harvard records in baseball and football.
Upon graduating from college in 1965, Tom married Marilyn Moon, his bride for life. Shortly thereafter he was swept into the Vietnam War. He attended Navy OCS graduating as Regimental Commander at the top of his class. During the war, Tom flew A7 fighter jets for the 86th Attack Squadron aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea. He flew 232 combat missions, survived being shot down twice, and was awarded numerous medals, ribbons and commendations.
Following his naval service, Tom entered the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1976. Thereafter, he settled his family in St. Louis, Missouri and embarked on a series of successful entrepreneurial ventures including several companies and real estate developments. During this time, Tom also served as a director of multiple public companies including Corning Natural Gas and Fall River Gas. In 1987, Tom and Marilyn moved to Florida, residing there (with many summers in Hull) for the next 30 years.
Tom led a rich life filled with adventure and accomplishment. To know Tom was to enter a world of last-minute comebacks and improbable upsets, of football games with the President and helicoptering to center field of his college baseball game, of courageous bombing raids and terrifying heavy-weather carrier landings at night, of being shot down and surviving while brothers did not, of fishing adventures around the Globe, of parasailing and ultra-lite planes and racing powerboats the length of the Mississippi, of horseraces and risk taking, of winning it all and losing it all and winning it back again, and of supreme, almost reckless generosity and kindness to friends, family and strangers alike. And in truth, that is merely to scratch the surface. Tom’s gift was to turn the everyday and ordinary into the extraordinary. He was the center of gravity wherever he went and all that knew him were inexorably drawn into his orbit. To be sure, Tom’s was a full-throated life, well-lived. His uncanny ability on the field matched only by his rapier wit and disarming charm.
The extraordinary stories that emerge from his life are Tom’s legacy and will be treasured by all who knew and loved him. Most of all, he cherished his family and the time he spent with them. In addition to his wife Marilyn, Tom’s immediate family includes three children, Kathy Varney of Cohasset, MA, Kerry Humes of Stuart, FL and Tom Bilodeau, III, of Hingham, MA, their spouses (Dan Varney and Kelly Bilodeau), and seven grandchildren (Dan and Deven Varney, Katie and Connor Humes, and Ellie, Sarah and Caroline Bilodeau). Tom also had two sisters, Jane Heggie and Nancy Bilodeau, and a brother Timothy Bilodeau. With the exception of Jane Heggie, all survive him together with a host of nieces, nephews and extended family and friends. A Celebration of life reception will be held at The Red Lion 71 South Main Street, Cohasset Ma on Thursday October 26, from 4-7 P.M. relatives and friends invited.
Tom requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Medicines for Humanity, 800 Hingham Street, Rockland MA 02370. www.medicinesforhumanity.org