Madras resident Tom Larry Stillings died on May 27, 2012, due to heart-related issues.
He was born to William Tilford Stillings and Amelia Ellen Shaver on January 16, 1942, in Pendleton. He lived and went to school in Stanfield, Ore. His parents farmed in Stanfield on the Old Loop Road, growing corn and raising hogs. He graduated from Stanfield High School in 1960. Tom worked on farms and Sunrise Ranch as a teen working in the hay fields, delivering watermelons, and loading turkeys. In 1962, Tom started working in road construction in Hood River.
Tom met his wife Rae Ellen (Ueland) Stillings at the drive-in movies in Hermiston and they were married in Arlington, Ore., on July 6, 1962. They were together over 50 years, as they saw each other every day during their year-long engagement. Tom was readying the family home and property for celebration of their golden anniversary when he passed away.
Tom worked for the Oregonian and the Oregon Journal in Hood River, White Salmon, and Camas and began to work for the Crown-Zellerbach paper mill in Camas, Wash., in 1966. He worked there until 1972, when the family moved to Madras with their three girls to manage the Oregonian dealership.
Tom raised his family in Madras and resided there until his death. He began his small business in the corner of his living room and worked many years without a day off in order to become successful. His desire was to provide for his family and work for himself.
He eventually started a full-time CB store called Quality Sounds. In the 1980s, business was hard and he began to manage Leathers Gas station and converted the mechanic bays into his retail store. As business improved, he began his next retail venture of The Outpost. At The Outpost he was able to help many nieces, nephews and family members with employment and eventually involved all of his childrens families in the business to this day. He was very entrepreneurial and was always looking for ways to do things better and smarter so that he could help others. Tom continued to work part-time up until his death.
Tom was a gentle giant with a sense of humor, and greatly enjoyed reminiscing about his family life over the years. He enjoyed classic cars, woodworking, NASCAR races, camping, spending time with his children and grandchildren, and snow birding in Salome, Ariz., and Rancho Mirage, Calif., with his wife and his dog Ziggy.
He enjoyed cruising and traveling, often going to Florida where he visited his former Brazilian exchange student Maria de Fatima Cornwell and her family. Some of his favorite trips were ones he took with his children and grandchildren, including many to the Oregon Coast. He and his wife opened their home as a host family to over 13 foreign exchange students over the years.
Toms faith and values were evident to all who knew him. As a teen he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, and was baptized in the Assembly of God Church in Hermiston and, later in life, was a member of First Baptist Church in Madras and most currently Cornerstone Baptist Church in Madras. He supported missions and provided scholarships to Washington Family Ranch (Young Life Camp).
He is survived by his wife Rae Ellen (Ueland) Stillings of Madras; daughters Christy Abbe and husband Skip of Madras, Barbara Ibrahim and husband Mayamba of Metolius, Debra Stinson and husband John of Madras, and Maria de Fatima and Jimmy Cornwell of Parkland, Fla.; grandchildren Holly (Abbe) and husband Joshua Hawes, Jordan Abbe, Clea Ibrahim, Jessica Stinson, Jeremy Stinson, Idalis Ibrahim, Brooklyn Stinson, Amanda Cornwell, Nikki Cornwell and Daniel Cornwell. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews whom he cared deeply for, as well as extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Tilford and Ellen (Shaver) Stillings, his brother John Stillings, baby granddaughter Amanda Abbe, and an unborn grandchild.
A graveside service was held Friday, June 1 at 10 a.m. at Mount Jefferson Memorial Park Cemetery, and the memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 2 at Cornerstone Baptist Church (formerly Conservative Baptist Church) at 675 N.E. 10th St., Madras.
If desired, memorial contributions maybe made in memory of Tom to Child Evangelism Fellowship of Central Oregon, P.O. Box 737, Gilchrist, OR 97737.
Services were under the direction of Bel-Air Colonial Funeral Home, Madras.