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Senior Living

Former WWII Fighter Pilot Finds New Home Near Family

Bill Mufich, with daughter Molly

Bill Mufich, with daughter Molly, at his new home.
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Cravedi

Personal Transitions Bill Mufich

By Kathleen Cravedi

Throughout his life, Bill Mufich, 89, of Kalispell, Mont., faced many life-altering experiences. As a pilot based on the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, he flew the F6F Hellcat fighter. Those fighter missions played a pivotal role in wining the Battle of Layte Gulf, a turning point in World War II. While in the Navy, he met and married his wife of 53 years, Thelma Tomchek, of Two Rivers, Wis., earned a law degree from the University of Montana, had one daughter (Molly), and lived in Helena and Butte. He was widowed in 1999 and lived independently in his home until July 2008. This year, he moved to an assisted living facility located near family in Kalispell, Mont.

Advice On a Move to Senior Living: Investigate your new surroundings. Talk to those living in the home you are thinking about. Go visit the home. Be proactive and open in making new friends. Go the extra mile to be friendly and help people become involved.

Mufich as a WWII fighter pilot

Mufich as a WWII fighter pilot.
Photo courtesy of Bill Mufich

The Transition: Transitions are inevitable. Make it positive. Put the past aside and look forward. Live in the present.

About Family: For me, the best reason to move was to be closer to my daughter and son-in-law. It made the transition an easier one.

Your New Home: After four months, I feel very good about the move. I have everything I require. The people are engaging and friendly. There are many activities to take advantage of.

Concerns Before the Move: I was afraid I would not be comfortable here and would not like it. I was afraid that people would already have their own friends; that the home would be noisy, and my apartment would seem too small. That's not the case.

Higher Ratio of Women to Men Bother You? No. It does not matter. The ladies are quite engaging!

Summer 2009 Issue: Volume 4 Number 3 Page 8