Greenwood - Thomas Edward Philpot, 69, passed away Friday, October 25, 2018, after a courageous battle with cancer. He is tremendously missed.
He was born on June 28, 1949, in Bloomington, Illinois. Tom (aka Buster or Little Tom) spent his childhood with his late sister, Phyllis, and 5 brothers, in southern and central Indiana, until he was enlisted in the army during the Vietnam War when he was 17. He was chosen to be trained as an MP in the army, and was flown around the country to various training grounds with a chosen unit. After a year of this, he was on a plane to California with his unit and others, when his Lieutenant said he could choose 5 men to go to Germany instead of Vietnam. Tom’s name was one of the lucky ones, chosen from a hat on that fateful plane ride.
He was sent on the adventure that lasted a lifetime, to Ettlingen, Germany, where he met Rita Rabold, his future wife of 48 years. Tom and Rita moved to Indiana, where they eventually had two children –Monique and Mark Philpot. Tom was an avid outdoorsman, fishing and camping into his last weeks of life. He found solace and wonder in nature –taking photos of plants, birds, and creatures to identify and share at home.
He also had an entrepreneurial spirit that prompted him to own a few of his own businesses, including appliance repair and auto reconditioning. He was incredibly disciplined –a faithful AA member from his early 30’s until he passed, and was a strong part of the AA family and community for years. He also had a creative flair that made him a unique artist –whether with paint or style – he was not afraid to look different or try new things.
Tom was passionate about equality for all and made it known he was often in favor of the underdog. He stood against racism or unfair treatment of any human anywhere loudly and strongly. He remained curious and loved learning and problem solving. His family was blessed to witness his talent of building, reading, fixing, and creating new ways of living and being regularly. He loved vintage vehicles and regularly attended antique car shows, fixing up many himself over the years. His beautiful, ocean blue, completely refurbished and rebuilt 72’ VW Beetle is still at home for us to appreciate. But Tom loved his family more than anything else –always ready and committed to celebrating them, and supporting and attending any of his family’s school or extracurricular events, birthdays or holidays that he could.
He made sure after family meals to stay and play board games or poker with pennies until the end. You could sense his deep love of family through his welcomes –he always very lovingly and openly welcomed his children and grandchildren into his house anytime they came, making sure to joyously say their name and ask how they were doing and what was going on in their lives each time. He was always eager to lend them a helping hand and was ready to get dirty building, creating, and teaching in any way he could. He was always available to lend a listening and caring ear if you needed it. Even in his last year, dealing with illness and unhealthiness, his adventurous spirit led him to Germany for one last time, to see, taste, and experience new and old again.
Tom is survived by his wife, Rita Philpot; children, Monique Philpot and Mark Philpot; daughter-in-law, Danielle Miller-Philpot; and grandchildren, Tiffani Miller and Sofie Philpot.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted Friday, November 9, 2018, at 11 am at Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic Church, 399 South Meridian Street, Greenwood, IN 46143.
Tom, we pray your deeply loving and adventurous spirit lives on and is free to experience joy beyond our imaginations. We love you.
If you would like to share a memory of Tom, or a special message with his family, please click the “Share Memories” icon above.