• Date Of Birth: May 28, 1936
  • Date Of Death: March 16, 2015
  • State: Montana

Thomas George Bastas (78) was born to Thomas John Bastas and Theresia Bogner Bastas on May 28, 1936 in Great Falls, Montana. He was the youngest of five. Tommy, as he was called as a child, grew up with his four sisters, attending local schools and graduated Great Falls High School in 1955. In subsequent years he served as M.C. for any of his high school class reunions.

Born to a Greek Father and a German Mother, Tom was proud to be a first generation American.

Tom, while in high school, joined the Montana Air National Guard in 1954. After graduating High School he moved to Cut Bank, MT where he was employed at Buttery’s department store and later worked with his brother-in-law.

In 1958 he married Gayla Marie Lagrand of Cut Bank and they worked on the family farm until 1961 when he returned to Great Falls, accepting a full time position with the Montana Air National Guard as a federal civilian employee (Air Technician) in the operations section retiring from Federal civil service in 1991. Also as military chief of the command post he retired from his military career in 1992.

For a number of years Tom supplemented family income by selling specialty advertising for the J.A. Baker Company, which took him and Gayla to Lake Tahoe, California and many other interesting places for meetings.

In 1969, a local chapter of the Association of Civilian Technicians (ACT) was formed at the Montana Air Guard. ACT represents the full time federal civilian employees on matters relating to conditions of employment and labor issues affecting their civilian jobs. In 1973 he was elected chapter president; he continued to be re-elected to that office until 1984. In 1982, upon the death of the national president at the time, he was appointed to the National Board of Directors of ACT as a National Vice President. In 1984, he was elected as the National Executive Vice President and served in that position for 16 years until his election to National President and CEO in 2000.

In 1988 he had taken a leave of absence from his federal employment and traveled extensively as a national field representative for ACT. During this time he was responsible for 11-13 states with chapters affiliated with ACT. His duties included assisting the members of ACT to negotiate their local contracts containing conditions of employment. He also acted as an advocate for members in adverse action or grievance procedures, as well as other conditions of employment situations and problems.

In January 2001, he and his wife Gayla relocated to Northern Virginia and the National Headquarters of ACT where he served as National President and CEO until his retirement in December 2008. ACT has become the largest Independent Labor Organization within the Department of Defense.

In the fall of 2001, he was appointed by the Director, Office of Personnel and Management, to serve as a member of the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C.

In February of 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Tom to the Federal Salary Council in Washington, D.C.

Both committees oversee and make recommendations on federal pay issues for both white and blue collar federal employees. He continued to serve on both committees until his retirement.

In January 2009, they relocated back to “God’s Country” to be near family and friends.

In 2014, he became very interested in Great Falls Barry Beach Freedom Walkers. After studying the case, he became convinced of Beach’s innocence and advocated for a change in Montana justice rules to try and make the justice system answerable to the citizens of Montana and not politicians. He testified before legislative committees and when he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, he prayed to live to see Barry pardoned.

He is survived by his wife Gayla; his daughter Tia (Curt) Bastas Dear; son Jourdon “Jody” Bastas (Julie Duffy); and four grandchildren, Tessa Danielle Dear (Mike Dewitt), Shiloh Morgan Dear, Olivia Mae and Kolby Alan Thomas Bastas; great grandson, Teeghan Thomas Severson; great granddaughters Mikynze and Mikaylee DeWitt; sisters, Maxine Loyland of Billings, Montana and Patricia Morris of Apple Valley, Minnesota; brother-in-law Don (Doris) Lagrand of Great Falls. He is also survived by numerous nieces and grand nieces, nephews and grand nephews, cousins, in-laws and probably some out-laws.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Mary Walker and Helen Engel and three brothers-in-law: Lee Walker, Ed Engle, and Oren Loyland.

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