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Thomas Hestand

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MARION -- Thomas W. Hestand, 69, passed away at 4:55 p.m. Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah.

Thomas was born Nov. 2, 1944, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Wayne and Afton (Croslin) Hestand.

Tom enjoyed a lifetime of achievement filled with family and friends. He attended Kemper Military Academy, graduating from Marion High School in 1962, SIU Carbondale with a Bachelor of Science in Government (1974) and a Master of Science in Education (1975). His college summers were spent as a firefighter and in trail maintenance at Yosemite National Park.

His military career spanned 21 years, attaining the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4 as a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army. He served in the 57th Assault Helicopter Company with his first mission in Vietnam in December 1968. He left active duty in March 1971 and retired from the Army Reserve 281st Assault Helicopter Company in 1989.

He was also a certified hot air balloon pilot. Tom was appointed by the Governor as a member of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board in April 1982 serving three consecutive two year terms.

After completing his education, he co-owned Hestand Insurance Agency with his parents. He pursued further business in agriculture, transportation and construction forming Medline Construction Company in Carbondale. His love of outdoor activities, which included hunting, shooting, western horses, boating, fishing and golf was passed along and enjoyed with his two sons.

Survivors include sons, Tyler Hestand and wife, Mandy, of Goreville, Clinton Hestand and wife, Dannielle, of Creal Springs; longtime companion, Charlotte Cash of Marion; grandchildren, Hailey and Caden Hestand; sister, Nancy Baron; close cousin, Colleen Bogard; and maternal uncle, Kenneth Gray.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Services will be at noon Tuesday, July 1, in Rose Hill Cemetery in Marion, with the Rev. Eddie Donnelson officiating. Military rites will be performed by the VFW and American Legion Posts with assistance from the Illinois National Guard. Visitation will be 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday at Blue Funeral Home in Marion.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society and will be accepted at Blue Funeral Home, 1704 N. Court St., Marion, IL 62959.

For more information or to sign the memorial guest register, visit

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