Tom Billionis owner of the Coffee Ethic and Beloved Community Leader Died Unexpectedly Saturday, April 16
The coffee community and the city of Springfield, Missouri, lost part of its soul on Saturday when Tom Billionis, owner and founder of the Coffee Ethic, collapsed on a run and died. He is survived by his wife and three children. The local news story from the Springfield News Leader is here.
Tom is remembered for his endless enthusiasm and passion for supporting local businesses in the heart of Springfield. The Coffee Ethic opened in December 2007, and Tom worked tirelessly to not only serve great coffee but also the needs of his community. He built bridges, reaching out to new businesses around the city, and sought to bring people and community together in ways large and small to help Springfield become a vibrant and enticing city for other small businesses.
His friends reacted with disbelief and great sadness when hearing of the news. On Facebook, Jeff Taylor co-owner of PT’s Coffee in nearby Topeka, Kansas said, “The world has lost a great man, father, human being, and role model.”
Marty Roe, owner of About the Coffee, posted on Facebook, “We have lost a true family member. I have no words to express my shock and deep sadness, I am hanging on to thread that I know that my life was enriched beyond measure because he was in it.”
And Joe Morrocco Café Imports Director of Education also writing on Facebook said, “It is hard to describe the influence this man had on me. He was living a life that was what we all respect and look for. He was the father of three daughters, and the husband of a strong, loving wife….. He was a careful thinker full of challenging questions and hunger to be a master. He was well on his way. His skill, hunger, humbleness and passion were unmatched.”
A memorial service will be held in Springfield’s Park Central Square on Friday. Details on the service can be found here.
Additionally Tom’s community has set up a college fund for his children. You can find out more about the fund and donate here.