Thomas W. Highfill, of Links Passage, Westerly, died peacefully at his home, on March 13, 2014.
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Born in Bloomington, Illinois, on December 17, 1922, Tom was the son of Thomas W. Highfill and Ada Jane Eubank of Farmer City, Illinois. He is survived by his three daughters, Nancy Socha and husband John; Christine Kepple and husband Mark; Stacy Stahl and fiance Bill Ottavi. He is also survived by his six grandchildren, Christopher Kepple of Boulder, Colorado, Aaron Socha of New York, Lindsay Malek of Westerly, Nathan Socha of Providence, Avery Kepple of Boston and N. Bronte Stahl of Rome, Italy. Tom was lovingly cared for over the last several years by his care giver Marta Rigova. Tom was predeceased by his wife Anne (Gencarelli). He was also predeceased by a brother, Philip. Tom's father died two months before Tom was born, leaving his mother to raise him and his brother Phil on the farm in Illinois. Tom told many stories of life in Farmer City delighting generations of friends and families over the years. Tom served in the Army Air Corps during World War II as a ball-turret gunner on a B-17 bomber based in Molesworth, England, as part of the 303rd Bomb Group, 427th Bomb Squad. During his service, Tom flew more than 35 missions over France and Germany. He recalled for us that he had the best view of the D-Day invasion from his seat as he flew over the English Channel that day. He was discharged in 1945 with a rank of Staff Sergeant. For his service, Tom was awarded an Air Medal with 5 Oak Clusters, and the EAME with 1 battle star. Tom worked in the real estate business with his wife Anne for many years in Westerly, and built or re-modeled numerous homes in town. Although Westerly was his home, Tom had a life-long love for Florida and he and Anne spent many winters in the Naples and Fort Meyers area. He was a former member of the Westerly Lions Club and other civic organizations in the town. Calling hours will be held at the Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, on Main St., in Westerly, on Saturday, March 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. A memorial service will be held at a later date, burial will be private. Donations in his memory may be made to The Westerly Hospital, Wells Street, Westerly, R.I.
Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home
121 Main St. Westerly, RI 02891
Published in The Westerly Sun from Mar. 19 to Apr. 9, 2014