Thomas H. Bilodeau Jr., at 75
Thomas H. Bilodeau Jr. died peacefully Sunday in Rockland at age 75. He enjoyed an eventful and impactful life, always living each moment to the fullest. A powerful intellect and gifted athlete, Mr. Bilodeau was a force to be reckoned with, on and off the field.
Born in Boston, he grew up in Milton and summered in Hull. He graduated from Boston Latin School in 1960, having left his mark as one of the more storied New England athletes of his era. He later would be inducted into the Boston Latin Hall of Fame and the Boston Park League Hall of Fame. After a post-graduate year at Exeter, Mr. Bilodeau entered Harvard College where he became a three-sport athlete and set several records in baseball and football.
On graduating from college in 1965, Mr. Bilodeau married Marilyn Moon, his bride for life. Shortly thereafter he was swept into the Vietnam War. He attended Navy OCS, graduating as regimental commander at the top of his class. During the war, he flew A-7 fighter jets for the 86th Attack Squadron aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Coral Sea. He flew 232 combat missions, survived being shot down twice, and was awarded numerous medals, ribbons, and commendations.
Following his naval service, Mr. Bilodeau entered the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1976. Thereafter, he settled his family in St. Louis and embarked on a series of successful entrepreneurial ventures, including several companies and real estate developments. He also served as a director of several public companies, including Corning Natural Gas and Fall River Gas.
In 1987, the Bilodeaus moved to Florida, residing there – but spending many summers in Hull – for the next 30 years.
Mr. Bilodeau led a rich life filled with adventure and accomplishment. To know him was to enter a world of last-minute comebacks and improbable upsets, of football games with the president and helicoptering to center field of his college baseball game, of courageous bombing raids and terrifying heavy-weather carrier landings at night, of being shot down and surviving while brothers did not, of fishing adventures around the globe, of parasailing and ultra-light planes and racing powerboats the length of the Mississippi, of horse races and risk-taking, of winning it all and losing it all and winning it back again, and of supreme, almost reckless generosity and kindness to friends, family, and strangers alike.
And in truth, that is merely to scratch the surface. His gift was to turn the everyday and ordinary into the extraordinary. He was the center of gravity wherever he went and all who knew him were inexorably drawn into his orbit. His uncanny ability on the field was matched only by his rapier wit and disarming charm.
The extraordinary stories that emerge from his life are his legacy and will be treasured by all who knew and loved him. Most of all, he cherished his family and the time he spent with them. In addition to his wife Marilyn, Mr. Bilodeau’s immediate family includes three children: Kathy Varney of Cohasset, Kerry Humes of Florida, and Tom Bilodeau III, of Hingham; their spouses, Dan Varney and Kelly Bilodeau; and seven grandchildren. Mr. Bilodeau also had two sisters, Jane Heggie and Nancy Bilodeau, and a brother, Timothy Bilodeau. With the exception of Jane Heggie, all survive him, together with a host of nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends.
A Celebration of Life reception will be held on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 4-7 p.m. at The Red Lion, 71 South Main St., Cohasset. Relatives and friends are invited.
Mr. Bilodeau requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Medicines for Humanity, 800 Hingham St., Rockland MA 02370 or online at www.medicinesforhumanity.org.
Visit http://www.downingchapel.com/listings for online guest book and additional information.
Thomas H. Bilodeau Jr., at 75