Tom Wallin was a passionate man whose personality had an infinite degree of depth. To summarize Tom is impossible, and there is simply no easy way to do proper justice to who he was. To his family, he was the one you could ask when the answers weren't clear. He was the one you wanted to share news with when it was worth celebrating and the one you wanted in your corner if there was a problem. He had the responses you wanted in your life to give significance to your actions. Tom was ready at any time to help with any task required, and he always loved to be with his family. His laugh, his true genuine full laugh, was amazingly contagious. He was THE best person to be around while sharing humorous stories or watching a funny movie because he felt life so deeply.
His compassion and kindness never knew a stranger. There are people who Tom has helped who will never know his name, but it is likely that he knew theirs. One clear example was Tom's habit of blood donation. With his O- blood type, he was asked often to donate. He frequently said "yes" and went on to donate over 15 gallons. He never glorified his own name.
His faith in Jesus was shown through the life he lived.
His passions were deep, they were unique, and they were full. Tom Wallin documented every day of his life from age 25 to 70 in daily journals. Close to 600 simple spiral bound notebooks contain his daily goals, tasks, his reflections and thoughts, his celebrations, his struggles, and his joys. He took notes in church. He kept score at sporting events. He journaled as he traveled the country on his motorcycles. Laconia, Daytona, Oregon, Arizona, New Orleans, California, Sturgis, North, South, East and West, he rode bikes to the furthest points of the country and connecting highways in each direction between. He usually rode alone but he updated his family throughout his adventures.
He had the top grades in the School of Technology at SIU Carbondale and to honor that accomplishment, he was asked to speak at the dedication ceremony and to lay the cornerstone of the new Technology Building. He and Judy were officially engaged later that same afternoon. They were married in the fall, and they began their married life in Champaign/Urbana where they continued their educations at the University of Illinois.
Tom served as an environmental engineer and supervisor within the Environmental Protection Agency where he impacted change and supported others. Procurement of grants, approving permits, writing policy, improving efficiency, pollution prevention, and helping businesses reduce their waste while often finding other businesses which needed the products. In all these ways and more, Tom served to improve the lives of others. After 36 years of service, in September 2001, Tom announced his retirement decision so that he could enjoy spending more time with his Judy, help his family in whatever area was needed, and explore the country.
He was an avid reader, and a well-informed thinker on many topics. His political leanings were slightly to the right. He wrote and published three books which can be found on the shelves at Barnes & Noble or purchased on Amazon. Tom Wallin faithfully did his exercises and stretches every morning and walked at least three miles every day. He was disciplined in his actions and in his diet, and he never lost his zest for life which often accompanies discipline. He made his statements with his actions.
Tom received a diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer approximately one month before he died. He never smoked and took care of himself diligently. He had been to see doctors on many occasions prior to the correct diagnosis, but by the time his condition was determined, the disease had a head start. Even though he was devastated by the diagnosis, there was still a fight to be had. Tom pursued aggressive treatment from some of the best minds that medicine has to offer. He began a plan of attack which gave all of his family hope that they would be able to enjoy him for years to come. Unfortunately, his body tired before he did and he died with his family holding him on Sunday morning, Feb. 2, 2014, at 1:00 a.m.
He is survived by his wife, Judy, of Springfield. They have shared the adventure of 48 years of faithful love and marriage. The memories of raising their children and then embracing the freedom of retirement that filled those years will make this time easier but will also serve as a reminder of how much Tom is missed.
Daughter, Laura Lynn of Naperville (husband, Corey Joseph) along with Tom's grandchildren, Ryan Joseph, Alex Robert, Sarah Lynn, and Emma Grace, will miss his unending support and the unconditional love that Tom represented.
Son, Timothy Robert of Springfield (wife, Brittany Joy) considered Tom his best friend and will miss him daily. Tom served as an example of all admirable traits a person can possess.
August 2, 1943 -
February 2, 2014
He was preceded in death by his parents, Winifred and Warren; his sister, Suzan Nichols (August 2013); and Judy and Tom's son, Jeff (April 1983). Jeff's six month battle with leukemia ended just before the family was called by the Make A Wish Foundation to grant his wish.
Visitation: Family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at Kirlin-Egan & Butler Funeral Home, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield.
Funeral Ceremony: 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at St. John's Lutheran Church, 2477 W. Washington, Springfield, IL, the Pastor Greg Busboom officiating.
In loving memory of Tom Wallin, donations can be sent to Memorial Medical Center Regional Cancer Center to establish a cancer patient library or donations may be made to the Make-a-Wish Foundation in Tom Wallin's name, 640 N. LaSalle, Ste. 280, Chicago, IL 60610.
Visit Tom's obituary at www.butlerfuneralhomes.com/obituary and leave a comment.