There is no simple way to share the complexity of the life of Thomas Garrett Pylman. Loving, caring, brilliant, funny and fiercely independent are just a few adjectives that one could use to describe our Tom.
Tom’s all too short life was filled with amazing diversity. From repelling The Rims to serving this country in a Naval submarine, all 6’4″ of him, he truly was renaissance man.
Though born in Fayetteville, Arkansas on New Year’s Day 1974, he grew up mostly in Billings, Montana. Tom graduated from Skyview High School in 1992, but he got his real education at Wong Village. Before enlisting in the Navy in 1995, he built houses for a living and spent his recreational time hunting and fishing.
While serving the country submerged as a Sonar Technician on the U.S.S. Jefferson City, he was able to see the world. When above sea level and off duty, he explored different ports of call – he particularly loved Australia.
After the Navy, Tom traveled across the country laying fiber optic lines. This work took him to Texas where he worked in road paving and even spent time on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
While in Texas, his only child Walker was born. Though circumstances ended up separating them in distance, Tom’s love for him kept Walker close in heart. Tom hoped for and looked forward to the day they could reconnect.
When Tom returned to Montana for the last time, he worked at Exxon, where he made many great friends. He spent time with them hunting, fishing and four-wheeling. He also continued to travel the country to stay connected to his family.
Tom’s life was cut all too short by an aggressive, rare form of cancer. In the short three months between when he received a diagnosis and when the cancer took his precious life on November 30th, he battled with courage and humor in unlikely moments.
As we write this inadequate tribute to our son and brother, we remember Tom…not that you died, but that you lived. Your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget.
Tom is preceded in death by his grandparents, Robert and Julia Pylman and Charles and Genevieve Harkins. He is survived by his parents, Richard and Virginia Pylman; his son Walker Garrett Hendrix; his siblings, Shari (Brian) Foos, Amy (Jim) Blenkner, and Andrew Pylman; six nieces and nephews; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Thank you to RiverStone Hospice for the help and care in Tom’s last days. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider a donation to Veterans for Peace.
Memorial services will be held at Heights Family Funeral Home on Monday, December 16, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. Internment of ashes and military honors will take place at the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel, Montana on May 1, 2020.