Lt. Col. Thomas (Tom) Farrow Milligan passed away on October 20, 2023, at the age of 84, in Townsend, Massachusetts. Born in Sparta, Illinois, Tom and his beloved wife spent the majority of their lives in St. Louis, Missouri where they raised their daughter and were active in countless non-profit, fraternal, and civic organizations. They moved to Townsend, MA in 2011 to be closer to their only daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters. Tom was exceptionally kind, strong, funny, curious, patriotic, and genuinely loved meeting people.
A skilled navigator, he proudly served his country for 40 years in the Air Force, Missouri and Illinois Air National Guards, and Air Force Reserves. Known as Dad WSO, he was the oldest navigator flying F4s when he retired. Often found regaling the family with his stories of flying, favorite destinations, and post-flight antics, he would casually mention details like receiving a Christmas call on Christmas Eve from President Kennedy while on a particularly long mission. A few weeks ago, looking through a box of mementos, medals, and recognitions, his eyes lit up at the sight of a white plastic spoon. He told how he kept the spoon in the pen pocket of his flight suit because you never know when someone is going to have a can of baked beans on a flight and if you don’t have a spoon…you don’t eat. He appreciated the simple things in life and enjoyed sharing life’s lessons.
An active member in numerous civic organizations while in St. Louis including the Military Affairs Committee of the Regional Commerce and Growth Association of St Louis, Patient Advisory Council of the Siteman Cancer Center, Emeritus Director of the Legion of Honor, Board of Directors at the Shrine of St. Joseph, Knight of Columbus, Past Master at Tuscan Lodge, and poll worker on election days. Tom firmly believed in the importance of service to your country and community.
Throughout his 13-year battle with pancreatic cancer, Tom referred to himself as a weeble. ” “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down,” he loved to tell family, nurses, and doctors. He worried about how hard his medical team worked and told his oncologist that he was going to throw her phone away when she called to check in on him while on vacation. He faced life’s challenges with unwavering optimism and determination; he relished life even when the bad days far outweighed the good. His sense of humor endeared him to all who met him.
A UConn Women’s College Basketball fan, he could recite each of the players, their year, their GPA, their major, and their plans for post-college life. He took the time to get to know people and what made them tick. Whether he knew someone for a day or a decade, did not matter. He always remembered to ask them for a specific detail about their life the next time he saw them.
He lived a wonderfully full life, 56 years of which he shared with the love of his life, his wife Madonna Milligan whose peach cobbler, ice cream, and cookies sustained him. Loving father to Jaleen Milligan Siekman and Michael Siekman of Concord, MA. He was the adoring grandfather of Alicia and Lindsay Siekman. Brother of Bill Milligan, uncle, cousin, and friend to many who were fortunate enough to meet him.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, October 30th at 10:00 A.M. at St James Church, 13 St. James Ave, Groton, MA. Visitation will be held in the church one-hour prior from 9:00-10:00 A.M. Burial will be private with U.S. Air Force Military Honors at the Massachusetts Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Winchedon, MA.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those interested consider making a donation to JDRF through his family’s walk team:
or by mail to:
JDRF Greater New England Chapter
62 Walnut Street, Suite 5
Wellesley, MA 02481
Arrangements are under the care of Badger Funeral Home, 45 School Street, Groton, MA 01450 978-486-3709 www.badgerfuneral.com