Thomas Marshall Gilbert, Jr., age 83, passed away January 14, 2012. He made the passage peacefully, surrounded by his children, and with the strong faith that the Lord and other loved ones are waiting with open arms. He was born Christmas Day, December 25, 1928 in Yonkers, New York, to Thomas Marshall, Sr., and Mabel Rose (Smith) Gilbert. He grew up during the Depression and learned the value of working hard. A timely scholarship afforded him a college opportunity at Harvard University. He combined his studies with ROTC and entered the Air Force immediately following graduation in June of 1951. He was married on the same afternoon to the love of his life, Jeanne (Brainerd) Gilbert. They met in Boston during his college days and enjoyed a lifelong love of 55 years. His other love was flying and he could hardly believe his good fortune to be paid to do so. He served as an Air Force pilot and career officer for 26 years before retiring at the rank of full Colonel. He served tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam and flew numerous combat missions, for which he received commendations including the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also flew the prestigious B-58 ("Hustler") bomber and his prowess earned him the nickname "Red Baron". Following retirement, he continued to work in various fields such as computer programming, teaching college, assisting with the Sanctuary of Hope retreat center, and was active in his church. He is survived by his three children: Leslie (Kipp) Price, Thomas (Annette) Gilbert, III, and Douglas (Susan) Gilbert; five grandchildren: Shea Lehman, Kristen (Nathan) Del Curto, Kelsey Lehman, Eric Gilbert and Joshua Gilbert; one great- grandchild, Jacob Ray Del Curto; his sister, Lois Anne (Galbraith); his dear friend, Patricia Halcomb; and many nieces and nephews. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Mabel; his brother, Fred; and wife, Jeanne. He'll be remembered for his philosophical insight, stoic courage and occasional silly puns. A Funeral service will be held Wednesday, January 18, 10 a.m., at Cure of Ars Church, 9401 Mission Road, Leawood, Kansas 66206. The family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at St. Joseph Medical Center, Specialty Hospital of Mid-America and friends at Foxwood Springs, Raymore, Missouri, where he spent the past year and a half. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the Sanctuary of Hope, PO Box 172018, Kansas City, KS 66117. (Arr.: Cremation Society of KS & MO, 8837 Roe Ave., Prairie Village, KS, 913-383-9888, www.kccremation.com
) "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles" - Isaiah 40:31. Cremation Society of Kansas and Missouri
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Published by Kansas City Star on Jan. 17, 2012.