April 15, 1940 - May 22, 2023
The funeral service celebrating the life of Tom Bilek of Aldrich, will be held at 11 AM on June 2, 2023 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Staples, MN with Pastor Robin Fish and Pastor Fred Kutter presiding, visitation will begin at 9:30 am. Visitation will be 4 - 6 pm on June 1, 2023 at Brenny Funeral Home, Staples.
Tom, age 83, passed away as a result of a short battle with cancer on his farm in Aldrich surrounded by his family. The family is grateful for the compassionate assistance from the Lakewood Home Hospice Care Team.
Thomas Frank Bilek was born to Leonard and Marie (Bjornson) Bilek on April 15, 1940 in St. Paul, MN. Tom was raised in St. Paul, and he was baptized and confirmed at Faith Lutheran Church in the Frogtown neighborhood. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1958, he served in the Air Force from 1959-1963. Tom married DeEtta Joy Wicht, daughter of John and Evelyn (Martin) Wicht, Aldrich on September 28, 1968 at Jehovah Lutheran Church in St. Paul. He served as a St. Paul Firefighter from 1964 – 1991.
Though he was raised in St. Paul as a city boy, one of Tom’s greatest joys was farming. Along with his wife, DeEtta, the couple started small, farming ten acres near Hugo, MN while he was an active fire fighter. In 1984 they moved with their four children to DeEtta’s family farm in Aldrich. Together they learned about growing crops and raising livestock organically, had their land certified organic, and became active in many organizations that support and educate organic growers. Tom often proudly referred to his four children as the “best crop he ever raised.” Although Tom did not attend college, education was an important value instilled by his mother. All four of his kids graduated from college and have gone on to pursue careers and callings in areas that are meaningful to them. They all credit the work ethic modeled by their parents as a vital contribution. Tom enjoyed mentoring young farmers and being involved in various community organizations – including as a charter member of the Aldrich Lions- and the Lutheran church.
Surviving Tom are his wife DeEtta, their four children: Becky (Mike) Hofstad, Vikki Bilek, Joe Bilek and Amanda (Mike Sheedy) Bilek, and two grandchildren: Naomi and Tutu Hofstad. Also surviving Tom is his only sibling, Laurence Bilek (Dorothy Jeffries), numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Burial will be 3pm at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Bartlett Township, MN.