John A. Thomas, a longtime resident of Daisy, passed away on Sept. 22, 2011 in Colville at the age of 91. John was born on April 1, 1920 in Colville, the son of Alexis and Frances (Hacker) Thomas.
He was raised on the family homestead at Daisy, where he attended school at the Waterloo School House. John left school at a young age to work in the logging industry. He owned and operated a sawmill on the homestead and purchased the equipment to run his own logging operation. Years ago, John built a ramp to dump logs into the Columbia River for transport to the mill. Today, that ramp is known as the Daisy boat launch.
John married Frances Marguerite Holfold, in November, 1940. Together they made their home in Daisy where they began a family. John eventually left his work in the woods to work as a heavy equipment mechanic in Roseville, CA. In 1968 he returned home to work for Harvey Tripp. John also worked in the construction industry on projects across the Inland Northwest, including Montana, Idaho and Washington.
In 1971, his marriage to Frances ended, but they remained life-long friends. John retired from the construction industry, but continued to work into his retirement as a mechanic.
John was introduced to flight in the early 1950â€™s when he began flight lesson with Gene Scamahorn. He loved to fly and flew whenever and wherever he could. John landed in fields, on roads and even on skid trails. He owned several airplanes, including a T-Craft, Super Cub, Cessna 170 and 172. He flew to Florida where he stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Maule when taking delivery of his newly built Maule airplane. As a 900-hour stuÂ¬dent pilot, John took his flight test and became a licensed private pilot. He was known to create opportunity rather that wait for opportunity to find him. John was an innovator, both on the ranch and in his logging business. He was known for his ability to log lands that others declined due to the steep slope. He also built the first hydraulic slack kicker in the industry. He was a past Eagles Lodge member and enjoyed dancing, fishing and hunting. He will be remembered for his adventurous spirit, tougher than nails tenacity, and anything is possible attitude.
John was preceded in death by his parents and by his siblings, George, Rose and Raymond Thomas.
He is survived by his life-long friend, Frances Thomas, Daisy; a daughter, Sharon â€śCheriâ€ť Barrett, Spokane Valley; by his sons, William â€śTomâ€ť Thomas and Judy, Daisy; George Thomas, Daisy; eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.
The funeral service for John A. Thomas was held Sept. 27 at the Danekas Funeral Chapel in Colville. A graveside service will follow at the Calvary Cemetery in Colville.
Memorial contributions may be given to either the Alzheimerâ€™s Association or to the Recreational Aviation Foundation, 1711 W. College St., Bozeman, MT 59715-4913.
Please visit the on-line memorial and sign the guestbook at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com.
Danekas Funeral Chapel and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements.
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