U.S. Navy veteran Thomas Joseph “T.J.” Cloninger, 49, of Fairfield, died Dec. 14, 2019.
A celebration of life will be held Friday, Dec. 27, at 11 a.m. at the New Life Church in Fairfield with military honors and a luncheon to follow. T.J.’s ashes will be spread during a private family service later.
T.J. was born Dec. 18, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Anne Marie and Warren David Cloninger. He was the oldest of five children. He graduated with honors from C.M. Russell High School in Great Falls in 1988.
After high school, T.J. enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear submarine quality specialist. He served his country from January 1989 to December 1994 and completed a tour during Operation Desert Storm. During his time with the Navy, T.J. studied at St. Leo’s University in Florida and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance and business management.
T.J. worked in Denver, Colorado, for TIAA as an annuity specialist, for IMS as an administrative assistant and for Great West Life as an implementation specialist. Most recently he had worked for National Quality Inspections in Great Falls.
His motto in life was, “Live in truth, be Godly and be kind.” He enjoyed fishing, biking, skiing, hunting, boating and remodeling anything. More than anything, he enjoyed spending time with his family and his dogs, Turbo and Millie.
His survivors include his wife, Kylie Jill (Critchfield) Cloninger of Denver; his mother, Anne Marie (Robert) Kraft of Fairfield; his father, Warren (Cherie) Cloninger of Alaska; his brothers, David of Dutton, Victor of Fairfield and Jason of Oregon; his son, Joshua Cloninger of Idaho; his daughter, Taylor Jordan of Denver; grandchildren, Oakley and Domitri; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. He also leaves behind his wife’s family.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Christopher; his maternal and paternal grandparents; his maternal and paternal great-grandparents; an uncle, Thomas; an aunt, Denise; and his father-in-law, Stanley Critchfield.
The family suggests memorials to Bright Eyes Care and Rehab Center, P.O. Box 1498 Choteau, MT 59422, or Dumb Friends League, 2080 S. Quebec St., Denver, CO 80231.
Condolences may be left online at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com.
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