Thomas C. BILGER

BILGER, Thomas C. CMSgt (Ret) Thomas C. Bilger, 71, of Spokane, WA, died unexpectedly on January 11, 2013. He was born September 29, 1941 to the late William D. and Margaret R. Bilger in Woodbury, New Jersey. Tom graduated from Westville High School in 1960, and joined the United States Air Force shortly thereafter. He completed basic training at Lackland AFB, TX, and his first assignment was Fairchild Air Force Base. It was here that he met and married his wife of nearly 50 years, Darlene O. Bilger, on June 8, 1963. Tom proudly served 30 years in the Air Force. After Fairchild, he was stationed at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico and Plattsburg, NY, before being deployed to Vietnam in late 1971 for nearly a year. Upon returning from combat, he was stationed at McConnell AFB, Kansas, Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio and Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. He retired September 1, 1990 and moved to Spokane, WA with his family. Tom did not stay retired for long. He worked at Global Federal Credit Union for 20 years, making many more lifelong friends before retiring in the fall of 2010. Tom was a very devoted family man who loved spending time with them. He was happiest when all of his daughters were home together. He could be found at most family gatherings telling stories and making everyone laugh. He also treasured his time with his brother and family in New Jersey and down at the Jersey sea shore. Tom was an enthusiastic lifelong fan of stock car racing, and was a long-time Spokane Chiefs season ticket holder. We will remember him for his work ethic, sense of humor and willingness to always be there for us no matter what. Tom is survived by his wife, Darlene O. Bilger; daughters Peggy (Jordan) Varberg, Sue Bilger, Diane Bilger, grandchildren Kaitlyn, Libby, Abbie and Will Varberg; brother William (Jan) Bilger, and their sons Randy (Debbie) and Jeff (Kim) Bilger; brothers-in-law Ron (Francie) Shoemaker and daughter Shanti; Rollin Shoemaker and his children Steven (Roxane), Joel (Shawnee), Ben (Elaine), Katy (Nick) Wolfer; Art (Joyce) Shoemaker, his children David (Carol), Jennifer, Linda (Glen) and Jim; sisters-in-law Laura (Charles) Gill, their children John (Brianne) and Heather; Anna (Dean) Koesel and their children Kevin (Julie), Chris (Tracy), Tracy (Cole) Schweiger; nieces Heidi (Eric) Pratley, Shannon (Lee) Craig and Jodi Nuffer; nephews Rich (Andra), Mike and TJ Shoemaker; numerous grandnieces and grandnephews; and granddogs Nikki, Riley and Max. He is preceded in death by his parents William and Margaret Bilger, mother and father-in-Law Hubert and Opal Shoemaker, nephew John Bilger, sisters-in-law Naomi Shoemaker, Nancy E. Hargrave, Judy Shoemaker, brother-in-law Floyd Shoemaker, nephew Tom Shoemaker and grandnephew Brandon Pratley. The memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 17 at 1:00 at Trinity Baptist Church, 6528 N. Monroe St., Spokane, 99201. A graveside service will be held at the Elk Cemetery after the service. LAUER FUNERAL HOME, Deer Park, WA

Published in Spokesman-Review on Jan. 16, 2013