ELK RAPIDS — John O. Thomas Jr., age 85, of Elk Rapids, passed away Sunday, March 17, 2013, at Munson Medical Center. He was born September 22, 1927, in Shamokin, Pa., to John Oliver and Amy E. (Lear) Thomas Sr.
The day after graduating high school, at age 17, John enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served his country during World War II. On September 4, 1948, he married the love of his life, Deloris Vandenberg, in Keego Harbor, Mich. They moved north to Elk Rapids in 1971 to provide a better life for their four children.
John was a hard-working jack-of-all-trades and had several occupations. He was a licensed electrician, worked for the Oakland County Road Commission, Morrison Lumber, and eventually retired as the Superintendent of Maintenance for Elk Rapids Schools. He and Dee started the Village Bike Shop in Elk Rapids as a place for the kids to be employed and learn about business. After retirement, John and Dee enjoyed many warm winters with good friends in Palmetto, Fla.
John belonged to the Masonic Lodge in Elk Rapids. He loved to golf and was a member of the Elk Rapids Golf Club for over 40 years, where he also worked for many summers. John was also an avid hunter, teaching his boys to enjoy the woods and the hunting tradition.
He loved his family most of all and is survived by his children, David Thomas of Kewadin, Matthew (Jenifer) Thomas of Traverse City, Benjamin (Julie) Thomas of Virginia, and Jane Thomas of Florida; and five grandchildren, Linc, Ali, Cameron (Breanna), Will, and Rachel.
Besides his parents, John was preceded in death by his wife ,Deloris; sister, Louise; and a brother, William.
A memorial service and celebration of John’s life is being planned for this summer.
Memorial contributions in John’s name may be directed to the Conservation Resource Alliance, 10850 Traverse Hwy. #1180, Traverse City, MI 49684, www.rivercare.org.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Covell Funeral Home of Traverse City.