Thomas L. Billings passed away on February 27th, 2022 at the age of 72. Tom was diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer in 2012, but after treatment he spent the next ten years continuing to golf, travel, and pursue everything else he wanted to do after retirement. For the past two months, including his last hours in his home, he was with his wife and son at his bedside.
Tom was born in Elko, NV and first lived on a ranch north of town with his parents. After his father died, he started working for the state highway department at 15 to help support the family. He graduated from Elko High School and then enrolled at Montana State University in Bozeman.
After studying architecture in his first year, Tom changed majors and earned his Bachelor’s in agricultural production. However, Tom knew that the best thing to happen to him in Bozeman was meeting his future wife Debbie and vice versa. They were married as soon as he finished his degree and moved to Hamilton, where they lived for five years. Tom and Debbie moved to Conrad in the mid-70's and started a large circle of new friends. They later introduced a baby boy, Brian, to the family making Tom a very proud father.
His architecture interest led to him completing the construction of his home in Conrad and additions to his beloved back yard, including a swing, playhouse caboose, and a bridge for the rock garden. His degree major led to a position with Peavy and Agribasics where he sold feed and fertilizer and helped assemble grain bins on many farms in the larger area. He later had an independent Purina Mills feed dealership and sold to the Hutterite colonies.
He finished his working career at CCA in Shelby, where he had been a model employee with years of achievement awards. They were sad to see him retire in 2014, but he was happy to have more time to work on his bucket list. This included seeing the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Redwoods parks, touring Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg, and walking on the beaches of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. One of these trips took Tom and Debbie through 18 states in one large loop. They also took shorter drives all over the state of Montana while marking off a map of nearly every major and minor road in the state.
While he enjoyed all of this, his true passion was the game of golf. He played for the Conrad men’s league and won multiple team tournaments and Ryder’s Cups. Tom’s happiest moments were his double eagle at Conrad #4 in 2000 and his hole-in-one at Cut Bank #4 in 2007. He also enjoyed watching Phil Mickelson and the rest of the PGA, and he even got to walk next to the 18th green at Pebble Beach and have a drink in the clubhouse. In recent years, he cherished playing senior league every Tuesday with his great golf friends.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Anna Billings; aunts and uncles from Elko, NV and Grand Junction, CO. He is survived by his wife, Debbie; and son, Brian; sister, Charlotte (Dave) Galbraith of Boise, ID; nieces, Aunt Diana Keogh, and cousins in Elko, NV.
No services are planned, per Tom’s wishes. Two of Tom’s favorite songs were “I Believe in Love” by Don Williams and “Where Rivers Run” by Anne Trenning. Those who wish can remember Tom by listening to samples of these anytime.
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