Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Tribute to my Grandpa Thomas

Here is a picture of my kiddos and me with my Grandpa Thomas on the 4th of July. He passed away 11 days later on July 15th. What a sweet, loving Grandfather he was to us all. I think we each felt like his favorite grandchild, and there were 38 of us. That's a lot of love!

I remember most his smooches on the lips, even when we were in those years where it was really weird to smooch your grandpa on the lips, him "shucking his teeth" (sliding out his dentures), him telling me he loved me "just a little bit," starting with his hands close together and then stretching them all the way out as wide as they could go, sitting on his lap and giggling at the anticipation of him tickling me on the knee, and volunteering with him and my dad to drive the Care-A-Van on Fridays where we would pick up elderly and disabled individuals and transport them to doctor's appointments, etc. And I definitely remember him telling me about how he went to Japan in WWII and they surrendered before he got there because they heard he was coming.  What sweet memories I get to share with my children!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The Dalles Chronicle
William Thomas
     William “Bill” Thomas, 86, a lifelong resident of The Dalles, Oregon died at his home on Friday, July 15, 2011.
      He was born on April 17, 1925, in The Dalles, Oregon, the third of four children to Frederick and Clara (Spiekerman) Thomas.  He grew up in The Dalles and started his working career working along with his father as a delivery boy for the family grocery delivery service. By age 12, the family moved to their farm on Five Mile Road, where Bill learned to do a man’s work such as plowing, tending their many farm animals and tending the crops. Bill held a variety of jobs throughout his career including owning his own construction company and farming which was his lifelong passion.
      Bill married Margaret “Maggie” Greiner in 1945 after his return from Army service. His Great War story for the children revealed that the Japanese had surrendered only when they heard that Bill Thomas was on the way.
      Bill was preceded in death by his first wife Maggie, who died in 1981, his son William D. “Bill” Thomas, Jr., who died in 2002 and Frederick who died in 1951 as a young toddler.
      In 1982 Bill married Joan Wilson. Together they combined seven children each and at the time of Bill’s death they had a whopping 38 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren, all of whom were dearly loved.
 Bill’s life has been a story of challenges, tragedies, joys and sorrows but he always persevered and found a way to support his family. A hallmark of his character was that he loved to talk. He always welcomed friends, family and even strangers for coffee, to chat, solve problems, or to share his knowledge and opinions about the world. Often standing at the gate at his Five Mile property with his trademark pipe in hand, he loved to have that friendly interface with others. He always acted on the impulse that no man was a stranger.
      Bill and Joan were living at Flagstone Assisted Living at the time of his death. Bill is survived by his wife Joan, his daughter-in-law, Barb Thomas; his children and their respective spouses, Jan Shough (Mike); Joanne Howell (Tom); Mary Cox (Dale); Sam Ellis (Gary); Peggy Brittle (Lance); Sally Sheehy (Jim); and his step-children Steve Wilson (Janice); Barb Rolfe (Phil); Dianne Wilson; Jim Wilson (Alex); Dave Wilson (Tammy); Maria Wilson and Dan Wilson (Nancy).
      A rosary will be held on Friday evening, July 22nd, 2011 at 7:00pm at Spencer, Libby & Powell Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Peters Catholic Church on Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 at 1:00pm with Father Charles Nnabuife officiating. Interment with Military Honors will follow at St. Peter Catholic Cemetery.
      Remembrances may be sent to Flagstone Senior Living, 3325 Columbia View Drive, The Dalles, Oregon 97058.
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