Thomas Richard Stillwagon, 97, died peacefully Friday, Aug. 31, 2007, at his home in the Henry Ford Village, Dearborn. He was born March 7, 1910, in Broadford, Pa. in Fayette County, near the town where his ancestor Peter Stillwagon settled after service in the Revolutionary War. His parents were Walter and Minnie Newman Stillwagon. Mr. Stillwagon moved to Detroit in 1929 when the city was at the height of its glamour and excitement. His memories of the 1920's and 1930's, written after Tom reached the age of 95, were filled with exciting names and events - politicians, criminals, long-gone restaurants, stores, theaters and wonderful cars, such as his 1929 Essex Coupe with yellow spoke wheels. The city inspired a sense of adventure that lasted throughout his life, and was shared by his beloved wife, Lucile, who preceded him in death in December 2004. Every interesting building, country estate or factory boasting a "no trespassing" sign was fair game for exploration. For more than 25 years, Tom and Lucile kept an overnight bag in the car, because a trip to buy an ice cream cone might end in Grand Rapids. Shopping for a toaster might (and did) end in Pittsburgh. After 25 years of service on the U.S. Border Patrol and in the Immigration Service, Tom retired, returned to school, earned an associate degree from the University of Michigan, and worked happily as an assessor in Farmington Hills and Madison Heights. He lived for 35 years in Royal Oak, where he served as a deacon and elder in the First Presbyterian Church, and then in Berkley, before their move to the Henry Ford Village. Surviving are a sister, Alma, of Scottdale, Pa.; son and daughter-in-law, Aallan and Marcia, of Ann Arbor; grandchildren, Andrew of Louisville and Katherine Gray of Ann Arbor and in Louisville, a great-granddaughter, Ella. He was delighted by the marriages of his grandchildren to Michelle Hester Stillwagon and Devon Gray. Visitation on Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. until the 11 a.m. funeral service at First Presbyterian Church, Royal Oak; memorials to the church or Doctors Without Borders, PO Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030; arrangements, Wm. Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, Royal Oak; online information, wwwsullivanfuneraldirectors.com
Published in The Daily Tribune on Sept. 2, 2007.
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