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Thomas C "Tom" Costin

March 23, 1925 ~ December 20, 2023 (age 98) 98 Years Old


Plainfield, IN: Thomas (Tom) C Costin, 98, passed away in his home to join his Lord and Savior for eternal life on December 20, 2023.  He was born in Paragon, IN, on March 23, 1925, to Harley Tom Costin and Francis Marie Denny Costin. The family moved to Martinsville, IN. Tom had shared an early childhood memory that he was infatuated with the airplanes landing in a local field. He told his mother, “That is what I want to do.  I want to fly!”. Tom graduated from Martinsville High School a semester early and set off to Purdue University to study Aeronautical Engineering.  Soon after his enrollment at Purdue, WWII began, and he immediately enlisted in the then Army Air Corps, where he lived his dream of flying P51s and P40s while serving his country.  After the war, Tom returned to Purdue to finish his degree. There, he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.  

With a desire to still serve the country he loved, Tom remained in the Indiana Air National Guard, retiring in 1975 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He served in many different capacities during his career in the Guard, including the assignment of Transportation Staff Officer at Stout Field.

In 1952, he married the love of his life, Bette Lee Etter Costin, and was a devoted husband to her until she died in 2019. They had a wonderful life of love together, full of laughter and adventures.  They were proud parents of Kaye (Nick) York and Kathy (Craig) Michael, who are both Purdue graduates.  They shared lots of fun with their dad during years of Purdue tailgates and football games. Tom was a season football ticket holder from 1948 to 2019 and a lifetime member of the John Purdue Club.

He had three grandchildren, Kristen Vroman Michael, Troy Costin Michael, and Kara Nickole York, who were the joys of his life. He loved, cared for, and nurtured them from the moment they were born.  They would tell you that they received LOTS of valuable life coaching and advice from their Papaw.

Tom was the owner and President of Costin Buick Company for 33 years.  He served on the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Advisory Board during his career under then-Governor Whitcomb. Through his business and philanthropic involvement, he became an integral part of the Plainfield community.  He served on the Plainfield School Board and was a member of the Rotary Club, Plainfield Elks Club, Plainfield Eagles, and American Legion.  Other memberships include NRA Life Member, QB, Republican National Committee member, and the Air Force Association.

Tom became a thirty-second-degree Mason in 1950, a Scottish Rite member in 1951, and then a Shriner. He was a member of the Indianapolis Shrine Horse Patrol, where he was privileged to take his horse “Joe” to ride alongside the other Shriners in many local events and parades, as well as the highlight of performing in the East-West Shrine game and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA in the 1950s.

Tom lived a long, full life as an eternal optimist with a big personality that was engaging and entertaining. He was also a humble giver to many throughout his lifetime. Tom loved playing golf and was a member of the Country Club of Indianapolis (CCI) for over 58 years. He received the CCI Lifetime Achievement Award for his membership, contributions, and service to the Club.  As small child, he learned to hunt with his father and enjoyed bird hunting into adulthood. Fishing was one of his favorite pastimes, especially in his later life. He was never shy to ask anyone with a pond or a friend with a pond to take him fishing. Gardening was another passion, especially growing tomatoes and giving them away.

Tom was preceded in death by his wife, parents, and sister, Julia Costin Stephenson. He is survived by his daughters, grandchildren, and an extraordinary God Daughter, Lee’Ann Townley Mathy, whom he loved dearly. A heartfelt thanks to his great friend and lunch companion, Vern Elkins.  Vern gave Tom an exceptional quality of life several days a week for the past 10+ years with engaging conversation, eating at their favorite places, and singing in the car to the 40’s station. They say it takes a village, and the wonderful neighbors at Wedding Lane were part of the reason that Tom was able to live independently until the very end. Just the way he wanted it.

In lieu of flowers please make contributions to:

The Indy Honor Flight Tom was a veteran on their inaugural flight in 2012


Plainfield Christian Church Tom was a member since 1956


Funeral services will be held on Friday December 29, 2023 at 1 p.m. in Hall-Baker Funeral Home, Plainfield with Rev. Steve White officiating.  Entombment with full military honors will follow in Maple Hill Cemetery, Plainfield.  Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. until the funeral in the funeral home.  Please visit www.bakerfuneralservice.com to leave the Costin family a condolence and to share a memory of Tom. 

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December 29, 2023

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Hall-Baker Funeral Home
339 East Main Street
Plainfield, IN 46168

Funeral Service
December 29, 2023

1:00 PM
Hall-Baker Funeral Home
339 East Main Street
Plainfield, IN 46168

Interment following funeral service
December 29, 2023

Hall-Baker Funeral Home
339 East Main Street
Plainfield, IN 46168


Plainfield Christian Church
800 N Dan Jones Road, Plainfield IN 46168

Indy Honor Flight
P O Box 10, Plainfield IN 46168


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