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Henry Thompson "Tom" Fillmer passed away on July 5, 2014 at the E.T. York Hospice Care Center after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was a kind, open minded, adventurous, and gregarious family man who loved nature, music and socializing. Tom was born in Martins Ferry, OH, son of Vera and Henry Fillmer. Dr. Fillmer was a graduate of Ohio University where he earned a PhD in Education. After graduation, he served on the education faculties of Hiram College in Hiram, OH, The University of Alaska in Fairbanks, AK, Agnes Scott College and Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and The University of Florida, in Gainesville, FL, where he served as a full professor from 1967 until 1997 when he retired. Tom was a Kentucky Colonial, a member of the Ohio University Blue Key, Acacia Fraternity, Phi Delta Kappa and the past President of the Florida Reading Association. He also is a veteran of the US Army where he served in the Counter Intelligence Corps. Teaching and writing were his professional passions and he was a prolific author continuing to write and publish throughout his career. Fortune favored him with the opportunity to co-author three series of elementary English textbooks, one of which was the best-selling series in the nation for a number of years. He was known as the first author in his field to address gender equality and the use of contemporary language in his textbooks. Upon moving to Florida he developed a passion for the ocean and became an avid sailor. Most summers and holidays were happily spent at his second home in Crescent Beach, FL. Tom's many other passions included playing the banjo, running, playing tennis, painting and spending time with his beloved pets. He had a tremendous sense of humor and loved to laugh and tell stories and jokes. Tom was an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church and volunteered at the North Florida Medical Center and the Alachua Co. Humane Society.
He is preceded in death by his parents and survived by his wife Dorothy and three children; Susan Burchfield (David), Constance Bell (Russell) and Tommy Fillmer (Dana) all of whom reside in Gainesville, FL. He is 'Rock' to seven grandchildren; Haley Burchfield Ringwood (Chris) of Denver, CO, Zachary Burchfield of Tampa, FL, Tyler Burchfield of Boston, MA, Matthew Bell of Austin, TX, Sissy Bell of New York City, NY and TJ and Maddie Fillmer of Gainesville, FL, and one great grandchild Olivia, daughter of Haley and Chris.
The family wishes to thank the staff and aides at Clare Bridge, Tom's home and second family for the past 9 years. The family also wishes to express gratitude for the wonderful care given Tom at Haven Hospice.
A Memorial service will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church at a later date with a reception to follow in the Church. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Sonlight Youth Choir at Trinity United Methodist, Haven Hospice, or the Alachua Co Humane Society.
Arrangements are under the care of MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES, 311 S. Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601 (352) 376-5361.
Milam Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. of Gainesville
311 South Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32601-1803
Published in Gainesville Sun from July 10 to July 11, 2014