Thomas Wiltfong

Obituary of Thomas Lloyd Wiltfong

Thomas Wiltfong, 79, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, passed away on March 1st, 2023, after a long struggle with leukemia and related health challenges. Tom was born in Griffith, Indiana to Lloyd and Margaret on February 6th, 1944, and spent the first half of his life in Northwest Indiana. The summers of his youth were spent with his family at their cottage on Koontz Lake, where he developed his love of boating. As an adult Tom was an avid sailor for many years, sailboating the waters of Lake Michigan with his brother Don. Many of his happiest memories came from those years on the water with his family and friends. Tom was a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and served in the Navy in Vietnam. For many years he co-owned a commercial printing business, Garman Printing Company, with his brother Don, a family business taken over from their father, Lloyd. Tom married Phyllis in 1973, and they had their daughter, Jenny in 1974. He was a father of the most patient, kind, and loving variety, and though she put him to the test on many occasions throughout her youth, Jenny turned out to be a true source of pride and joy for him. Tom and Phyllis learned that they were better suited to friendship than marriage and remained best friends throughout his life. The second half of his life Tom threw caution to the wind, moved to Florida, and became a parole officer. He said he wanted to move somewhere warm, where he could see the Gulf of Mexico every day as he drove to work. He settled in Gulf Breeze for most of the last 30+ years and did just that. Tom was a relatively quiet, introspective guy, but he never met an animal he didn't like. He was a large man with an imposing presence, yet he gently escorted every spider or bug out of the house to safety outside. He especially loved dogs. The number of dogs Tom rescued , or "permanently babysat", were too numerous to count. We will deeply miss him, his dry sense of humor, kind heart, and loyal, gentle nature. Tom is survived by his daughter, Jenny; son-in-law, Jamie; granddaughter, Madeleine; best friend, Phyllis; brother, Don; sister-in-law, Mary Ann, and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. Tom is preceded in death by his father, Lloyd; mother, Margaret; his beloved niece, Ann; and his beloved friend, John. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where he donated faithfully for many decades. .
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