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Thomas “Tom” Charles Bulger, 78, of Milan, formerly of Fresno, Calif., passed away on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, in Rock Island, Illinois.
Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Life at 2 p.m. central time on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, at Grace Presbyterian Church (formerly Good Shepherd), 2324 18th Ave., Rock Island, and may attend via live stream at https://youtube.com/live/_slOghBeKpg?feature=share. Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday at church. Following the service, a luncheon will be held for family and friends to share stories and memories of Tom. Memorials may be left in care of Grace Church, Rock Island; Christian Care, Rock Island; or QC Paws, Moline. Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home and Crematory, Rock Island is assisting the family.
Tom was born on Nov. 13, 1945, in Moline, Ill., the son of Charles and Violette (Hallquist) Bulger, and brother to his younger sister, Mary. He graduated from Moline High School in 1963. Tom attended Black Hawk College where he met Carolynn Sims in Spanish class. They married on May 26, 1968, at Central Presbyterian Church, had two daughters, Bridget Kathleen and Brittany Jeanne, and cherished 55 wonderful years together.
In his early years, Tom worked as a paper boy, made ice cream at Whitey’s, coded for International Harvester, and worked sales for Duffy Paper Company. His desire to serve others moved him to return to college and enroll at the University of Iowa in 1971. He received a degree in Recreation Therapy. After he graduated college, in 1974, Tom and Carolynn moved to Fresno after Tom received a job offer from Fresno Community Hospital to work in its Alcohol Rehab Program, and continued to work for the hospital for over 20 years. Tom worked in the mental health field serving adults and children of Fresno for over 37 years.
Being of service was always a priority for Tom. He began volunteering at Central Presbyterian by teaching Sunday school, tutoring children, and being a youth group leader. While living in Fresno, Tom continued to volunteer his time by coaching his daughters’ t-ball teams, feeding the homeless, organizing inner-city outreach missions, coaching and refereeing inner-city basketball leagues, tutoring children and holding multiple volunteer positions at World Impact and at First Armenian Presbyterian Church. When Tom and Carolynn returned to the Quad Cities, Tom continued his life of service at Good Shepherd Church, Trinity Hospital, and Christian Care Rescue Mission. Tom was a truly selfless person who never met a stranger. To Carolynn’s dismay at times, it was not unusual for him to give hitchhikers rides and give away his last dollar.
Committed to his faith, Tom attended Central Presbyterian in Rock Island, First Armenian Presbyterian Church in Fresno, and Good Shepherd (now Grace Presbyterian) in Rock Island. Throughout his life, Tom experienced many physical challenges, but his faith in the Lord gave him the strength to go on. Tom’s faith also gave him the privilege of being a helpful listener and counselor for family and friends.
Tom enjoyed playing, coaching, refereeing, and watching sports, especially the Chicago White Sox, Iowa Hawkeyes and Notre Dame. When he could no longer play sports he turned to walking, volunteering, feeding birds and squirrels and enjoying the spectacular sunsets off his balcony. A wonderful encourager, Tom spent lots of time calling family and friends.
Those left to cherish Tom’s memory include his wife, Carolynn; daughter, Bridget Ginty and husband Kevin; daughter, Brittany Becklin and husband Matt; granddaughter, Jovie Becklin; sister, Mary Maze and husband, Gary; canine companion, Baxter; and many beloved cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and in-laws, Melvinand Mary Sims.
Online condolences may be left at www.wheelanpressly.com.