Thomas L. DeBlieck, 63, of Plant City, Fla., formerly of Geneseo, died Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, after a brief illness. A funeral Mass celebrating his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 4 at St. Malachy Catholic Church. The Rev. Michael Pakula will officiate. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery. A visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 3 at Vandemore Funeral Home, Geneseo. A scripture service will follow the visitation at 4 p.m. Memorials may be left to the Thomas L. DeBlieck Memorial Fund.
He was born on March 2, 1949, in Geneseo, the son of Ralph E. and Maguerite Park DeBlieck. He was raised in Geneseo; attended St. Malachy’s and graduated from Geneseo High School. He graduated from Western Illinois with a bachelor degree in business. He married Kathy Tell on Aug. 16, 1969, at St. Malachy Catholic Church, Geneseo. He was a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
Tom worked for Eagle Foods for 21 years, working his way to vice president of produce. He then was director of produce for Kash N Karry in Tampa, Fla. Later with Sweetbay, he was a produce category manager. His 38-year career in produce was widely known throughout the country for his expertise and ethics. Among his many awards, he was named Florida Merchandiser of the Year and Top Produce Merchandiser in the United States by Produce Merchandising. He retired in January 2012. He was able to play golf, his passion, all year and enjoy his retirement. He also loved being with his wife and daughter, and Dixie and Molly, his dogs.
Survivors include his wife, Kathy; daughter, Amber of St. Petersburg, Fla.; mother, Marguerite DeBlieck of Geneseo; brothers and sisters-in-laws, Kenneth and Vickie DeBlieck of Sun Lakes, Ariz., Randy and Carol DeBlieck of Aurora, Colo., and Dennis and Lori Lewis DeBlieck of Littleton, Colo.; nieces and nephews, Breann and Shawn Bockstahler of Aurora, Brant DeBlieck of Scotts Bluff, Neb., Terri and Chris Welsh of Phoenix, Ariz. He was preceded in death by his father, Ralph DeBlieck; and nephew, Tim DeBlieck.