Thomas C. Blecha, 71, Topeka, formerly of Lakeview, Ark., passed away Sunday, May 27 at Stormont-Vail Regional Medical Center following a short illness. He was born in St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 14, 1940, the son of Kasper Blecha and Beulah Hanley. Tom graduated from Northwest High School in House Springs, Mo., in 1959. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving eight years as a machinist's mate and later joining the U.S. Army, where he flew helicopters during three tours in Vietnam and later returned to the states as an instructor pilot at various bases. He retired from the Army in 1981 as a Chief Warrant Officer 3, and went on to fly helicopters for Air Logistics, servicing oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, for more than 14 years. He moved to Topeka in 2003 to be near his high school sweetheart, Susan (Hoene) Morley. While in Topeka, he volunteered at the Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center and was a life member of the VFW. Tom was married to Mary Campbell, and later divorced. Tom is survived by his sons, Jason Blecha (Carrie) of Imperial, Mo., and Matthew Blecha (Charmaine) of St. Louis, Mo.; six grandchildren; a brother, Donald Blecha, of Festus, Mo., and many nieces and nephews. Services are pending at Kutis Mortuary, of Mehlville, Mo. Memorials may be made to the
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on May 29, 2012