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After a yearslong battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Thomas Bieker died on Dec. 13, 2020.
Bieker’s wife, Natalie Willis Bieker, announced his death in a public Facebook post, saying “he was the most passionate, energetic, persistent man I’ve ever been so lucky to meet.”
Bieker packed his 40 years with community and career accomplishments. He was a principal at Environmental Works, managing compliance programs and overseeing retail environmental operations. He served on Springfield City Council for nearly two years and was a sergeant in the Missouri National Guard. In 2018, he co-founded MidAmerican Real Estate to redevelop areas in Springfield.
In his 40 Under 40 profile, Bieker said his proudest accomplishment was helping a client recycle, rather than trash, nearly 1 million pounds of food waste. And his most treasured possession was his family.
“When I was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2018 and the recent relapse, it puts a spotlight on what matters in your life,” he said last year. “For me, it was only one thing: my family.”
For Bieker’s 40 Under 40 acceptance speech, he performed a memorable lip sync to Buddy Holly’s “Everyday,” and ended the video with the call for his fellow honorees to be honest, courageous and kind.
The first downtown Springfield branch for Arvest Bank opened; a longtime licensed massage therapist became a first-time business owner; and 7 Brew Coffee opened its fourth shop in Springfield.