April 3, 1989 – August 17, 2019
South Bend, IN — The world has lost a great smile.
Our family has lost a hero.
After receiving his diagnosis of stage four brain cancer, Nate took a few
moments to himself and said, “OK Doc., what’s the game plan?”
Nate showed us how to live life and how to fight for it, always leaving a trail of thank-yous and smiles.
We won't forget how he refused to worry about what tomorrow held as long as he had today.
He put everyone — from family members to friends to a lengthy list of medical staff — at ease with his humor. It was the first and last impression he wanted to make with everyone, no matter how much energy it took.
From the moment he received the devastating news, he decided he wouldn't waste time on self-pity. Not during the recoveries from eight surgeries. Not during the demands of physical therapy. Not during the countless appointments. Not during the debilitating bouts of illness. And not when he knew the disease had won.
Nate is survived by his mother and father, Jolene (Troyer) and Bill Bilinski of South Bend, IN; sister Jenna (Jared) Mrozinske of South Bend, IN; brother Shane Bilinski of Chicago, IL; grandparents Lee and Rachel Troyer of Goshen, IN; and a host of loving aunts, uncles, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Bill and Dolores Bilinski.
Nate also leaves behind some unbelievably loyal friends who were with him every step of the way during his 8-year battle.
After graduating from Mishawaka Marian High School, Nate attended Ancilla and Holy Cross Colleges. Though the cancer delayed his education goals, it never derailed them and he completed his degree while dealing with regular treatments.
He enjoyed his work and the people at Hose Assemblies and pursuing a dream of assisting others in their search for clinical trials.
He played basketball and golf for as long as his body allowed and was an EXTREMELY passionate fan — as even neighbors could attest — of the Chicago Cubs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Those close to him will never forget the incredible depth of his spirit, his quick wit and his wonderful caring nature.
As an old friend wrote in a heartfelt letter to family members, “Nate had a big smile and an even bigger heart. He was one of the kindest, gentlest people I’ve ever met.”
He made us proud.
We will miss our hero.
Family and friends will gather at Kaniewski Funeral Home (3545 N Bendix Dr., South Bend, IN 46628) on Wednesday, August 21, at 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. for a viewing and a memorial service at 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a charitable contribution to organizations that were special to Nate.
Mishawaka Marian High School
1311 S Logan St,
Mishawaka, IN 46544
In the memo, please state that the donation is “In Memory of Nate Bilinski.”
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718
Oklahoma City, OK 73123
Please restrict the donation to “Brain Cancer Research” and attach a note stating your intentions to donate “In Memory of Nate Bilinski” along with your address and contact information for your acknowledgment.
To send flowers to Nathan's family, please visit our floral section.