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Thomas Fillebrown Obituary

by Amie Rukenstein

Thomas F. Fillebrown, 103, died peacefully at Serenity Hospice on September 26, 2023. He was born in 1920 in the kitchen of his parents’ Raritan Township, NJ, farmhouse, which had no electricity, running water, or telephone line. He lived long enough that drones took video footage of his 100th birthday parade.

Tom served in the US Army Air Corps from 1941-1945. He was a member of the “Mighty” 8th Air Force that brought Nazi Germany to its knees. He was particularly proud that none of the B17 bombers he maintained ever turned back from a mission due to mechanical problems.

Tom served as Chief of Police in Hopewell Borough from 1953 to 1967. He finished his career in public service with the NJ Administrative Office of the Courts. He was an active member of the Hopewell Fire Department and their ambulance corps. He was instrumental in bringing the first volunteer EMT course to the state of NJ. Under Tom’s tenure as president, he single-handedly brought the first woman into the fire department.

The Hopewell Township Police Department stated: “The Hopewell Township Police Department and the Hopewell Valley community mourn the loss of retired Hopewell Borough Police Chief Thomas Fillebrown.

“Chief Fillebrown lived a dedicated life of service that included serving as the Hopewell Borough Chief of Police from 1955-1968. Chief Fillebrown was also a World War II veteran and a member of the American Legion. He was a volunteer member with the Hopewell Fire Department and First Aid Squad, serving as Squad Captain, and later serving as the Fire Department’s President. Chief Fillebrown was instrumental in organizing New Jersey’s first EMT class which was held in Hopewell. He was also one of the organizers of the annual Hopewell Memorial Day Parade honoring our military veterans.

“In May of 2020, Chief Fillebrown was honored on his 100th birthday with an outpouring of support and thanks for his service to this country, state, and community. A drive by parade of fellow Mercer County law enforcement and emergency first responders, family and friends drove past his Hamilton Township residence, as he watched and waived. Chief Fillebrown was also presented with a proclamation on behalf of Hopewell Borough by Mayor Anzano honoring him for his service.

“We thank him for his years of service and pray that he rests in peace.”

Tom was a member of American Legion Post 339 and later Post 93. He was also a member of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church for 58 years. He loved bicycling and was a long-time member of the Princeton Free Wheelers bicycle club. He continued riding his bike into his 80’s, and completed his last 100 mile bike ride at 75. He had a wide range of hobbies and interests, including surf fishing, driving his SUV on the beach, keeping scam telemarketers on the phone to tie up their time, carving walking sticks, and raising African Violets.

He is predeceased by his parents, Vincent and Emelie, and his brothers George, Vincent, William, James, and Francis. He is also predeceased by his wife, Winifred, and his second wife, Margret Paul. He is survived by sons Brian (Jan Baurle) and Guy (Kathy Stueber); grandsons Daniel (Rachael) and David (Lisa Vo); granddaughters Megan, Clare (Lindsay) Macannan, and Kaitlyn (Niki Schumann) Farnell; great-grandchildren Delaney, Charlie, and Cason. He is also survived by his longtime beloved health aide, Alyson (Ildefonso) Millan.

Church Services will be held Saturday, October 7th, 2023 at 11 am in the Hopewell Presbyterian Church, 80 West Broad St., Hopewell NJ 08525. Calling hours will be Friday from 4 to 8 pm and Saturday from 9:30 am to 10:30 am at the Hartmann Memorial Home, 2830 Nottingham Way, Mercerville NJ 08619. Burial will be Monday, October 9th, 2023 at 11 am in the Washington Crossing National Veterans Cemetery, 830 Highland Rd., Newtown, PA 18940 with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Hopewell Presbyterian Church or American Legion Post 93.
Part of this obituary is courtesy of Legacy.com

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