R. Thomas (Tom) Vildibill, founder of San Diego Precast and former NPCA chairman of the Board, has passed away at the age of 69.
Vildibill passed away in Bend, Ore., on Feb. 16, peacefully and comfortably, with his family at his side. One of the most active NPCA members in the 1980s and 1990s, he served as NPCA president before it was a staff position, then became the chairman of the Board of Directors for the 1992 term. He is the top member recruiter in NPCA history with 202 new members sponsored, and was a three-time winner of the Douglas G. Hoskin Award for membership development. He was a philanthropist who will be especially remembered for helping others in need. A long-time member of Kiwanis, he brought in hundreds of new members and helped build more than 17 new clubs.
In the mid-1970s, Vildibill started a side-business in his backyard that eventually grew into San Diego Precast. By the time he sold the company to U.S. Concrete in 2000, it had grown into one of the top precast concrete companies in Southern California. He then became an investor and an award-winning developer in Central Oregon. Most recently he enjoyed retired life with his wife Shirley and dog Abbey.
Vildibill credited his success at San Diego Precast to three things: his three longtime partners (Doug McLaughlin, Todd Ebbert and son Bob Vildibill) and all their employees; the fact that he believed his company was blessed; and the National Precast Concrete Association.
After he retired from San Diego Precast, Vildibill continued to recruit new members for NPCA. He was a tireless advocate for the association, said Ty Gable, NPCA president.
"It was not uncommon for Tom to see a precast plant when he was driving down the road in his RV and just pull in and find the owner and talk him into joining NPCA," Gable said. "Tom was a true believer in the power of the association to bring people together and lift up an industry."
In a profile of San Diego Precast from the Spring 1999 issue of MC Magazine (now known as Precast Inc.), Vildibill described the simple, effective way he ran the company. "Think about the person, not the employee," he said. The profile went on to tell the story of an employee who came to Vildibill to ask for time off to visit his daughter who had been a victim of a violent crime and lived in another state.
Vildibill immediately swung his team into action and started making arrangements. The article states that,"The perplexed employee was subsequently whisked off to the airport, put aboard a plane, and flown halfway across the United States. Within a few hours, his daughter was in his arms. San Diego Precast took care of the costs." That was just one example of R. Thomas Vildibill's personal touch. There are many, many more.
Survivors include his best friend and wife Shirley Vildibill, brothers Al Vildibill and Bill Vildibill and his wife Mary Lou, sister Linda Van Dyke, son Bob Vildibill and wife Gina, son Alan Foster and wife Jennifer, daughter Tamara Emberton and husband Doug, six grandchildren along with many wonderful nieces and nephews, cousins and extended family.
Services are being scheduled for either March 9 or March 16 in San Diego. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers the family is asking that contributions be made payable to Shirley Vildibill that will be donated to Kiwanis Foundation Hope for Kids. Send to:
P.O. Box 3500
Sisters, OR 97759