Thomas, Keith John
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Keith Thomas passed away on April 23, 2014. He was born March 1, 1943 in Oak Park, Illinois to Ken and Marie Thomas. He grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois and graduated from St. Procopius High School. He graduated with honors from Illinois State University. He taught English and Reading at Homewood Flossmoor High School during which time he coached the HF golf team to a state championship. Also during that time, he was part owner of The Paperback Shoppe in Chicago Heights and earned a Masters Degree in Reading Education from Loyola University in Chicago. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Reading Education from University of Arizona in Tucson. He then took a position as assistant professor of reading education at University of Northern Iowa where he was in charge of the reading clinic. Following that, he became a professor of reading education at Arizona State University in Tempe. He worked primarily with graduate and doctoral students and was a respected advisor and mentor. During this time, he co-authored a reading methods textbook. He also did consultation work with the Navajo and Hopi tribes' educational systems. He retired from ASU with professor emeritus status.
He was a man with eclectic interests. Enjoying scouting as a boy led him to be a co-founder of BSA Troop 555 in Mesa. He collected and refinished antique furniture. He was a model maker. He collected Carnival glass, model trains, antique toys, Hopi Kachinas, "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" memorabilia, Egyptology and classic movies. He was very knowledgeable about World War II, Arizona history and English literature. He had a passion for college football and basketball and science fiction.
He was much loved and will be dearly missed by his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Frank. He is survived by his wife, Karen; three children, Kent (Nikki), Kara and Kristin Rheome (Marty) ; two grandchildren, Alex and Ella; a sister, Gloria Howells (Chris) and six nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 24th at 1:00pm at Fellowship Square, 155 W. Brown Road, Mesa. Donations may be made in his name to Boy Scout Troop 283, 5751 S. Crossbow Pl., Chandler, AZ 85249.
Published in The Arizona Republic on May 5, 2014