Thomas Clade GilpinSeptember 8th, 2021
Thomas Claude Gilpin, 79, of Russellville, Mo., died peacefully at St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, after a difficult week-and-a-half hospitalization battling COVID-induced pneumonia. Tom was born on July 10, 1942, in Henley, Mo., as the fourth of five children born to Claude and Myrtle (Jester) Gilpin. However, Tom spent much of his childhood growing up in Jefferson City. His experiences of misspent youth growing up in a low-income area as part of a large family greatly shaped the man he would become later in life: a devoted family man and steadfast provider for his wife, Barbara, and sons and daughter, Kurt, Karl, and Amanda. It also left him with a lifelong soft spot for helping the disadvantaged, especially children, whenever he could. Tom's teens and twenties were a tumultuous time of travel, hard-living, and adventure, which often became fuel for entertaining stories he freely shared later in life. During this period he was married, had four children, Kevin, Karl Rhey, Kyle, and Kristy, and later divorced. He served two terms as a municipal court judge in the Boone County circuit. He also lived in California for a time, where he graduated from Pasadina City College in 1965. Tom went on to cut meat and manage meat departments at grocery stores across the country for several years. It was in this capacity that he returned to central Missouri as a meat department manager for Schnuck's, where he met Barbara Jean (Cole) Gier. Tom and Barb quickly fell in love and married in 1981. They built a close-knit family together and remained married, committed to one another, and very much in love for the remaining 40 years of Tom's life. After leaving Schnuck's, Tom opened Gilpin's MFA Service in downtown Russellville. He operated the business for three years before moving on to Schulte's grocery store in Jefferson City, where he spent many years as a meat department manager. He retired in 2004, but most recently had returned to working part-time as a meat cutter at Covered Bridge Market in Russellville, Mo. Tom's wife, children, son-in-law Doug, whom he loved as his own son, and grandchildren were the greatest joys of his life. In his retirement years, he especially delighted in spending time with his five youngest grandsons, Royal, Rory, Jace, Liam, and Rhys, with whom he had close bonds. He also loved cooking, especially for others, and making different varieties of homemade wine in his garage. As a man with a strong work ethic, Tom took great pride in caring for his property in the country, as well. He could be found working on the house or land most days in his retirement. Otherwise, he was likely swimming in his pool or sitting on the patio by the water fountain, enjoying the beauty of "God's kingdom." Tom was a man of deep faith and love for God, and he was a member of Russellville Baptist Church for nearly 40 years. He was always quick to smile, and that smile was infectious. He was also a good listener who likewise always had a story (or tall tale) to share, a lesson to be taught, or a hug to be shared in comfort and sympathy. As a man of big emotions, strong opinions, and deep convictions, Tom was outspoken regarding the things he cared about. He also tried to exemplify fairness and integrity in all of his dealings, and he had a huge heart, whether he'd known someone for years or just met them, he was generous with all resources at his disposal, from his time, money, and food, to his home and his life experience. He delighted in helping family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. Tom was a man you could easily love and respect, even if he also managed to anger or exasperate you at the same time. His personality was larger-than-life, and his passing means the world is smaller and dimmer for all who were loved by him and who loved him in return. Though Tom was preceded in death by his two older brothers, Don and Ed, he is survived by his two sisters, Betty Schue, of Oklahoma City, Okla. and Pat (Jack) Copeland, of Brazito, Mo. He is also survived by his wife, Barbara Jean (Cole) Gilpin, of Russellville, Mo., 17 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and eight children: Kevin (Rhonda) Gilpin, of Hallsville, Mo.; Karl Rhey (Abbey) Gilpin, of Auxvasse, Mo.; Kyle (Lynelle) Gilpin, of St. Peters, Mo.; Kris (Sam) Copra, of Lake Ozark, Mo.; Karl Gilpin, of Russellville, Mo.; Kurt Gilpin, of St. Charles, Mo.; Amanda (Doug) Stafford, of Columbia, Mo.; and Maria (Kristian) Fossler, of Scottsdale, Ariz. Visitation will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at Russellville Baptist Church, in Russellville, Mo., immediately followed by a funeral service at 2:00 p.m. Cremation will follow the funeral services, so there will be no graveside gathering. As Tom was a pro-life advocate, the family encourages donations to the Vitae Foundation in Tom's memory in lieu of flowers. Arrangements are under the direction of WEBER-MILLARD Funeral Home, 13415 Route C, Russellville, Missouri 65074 (573) 782-3525. Condolences may be left online for the family at www.millardfamilychapels.com.