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John Paul Thomassen


1926 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
John Paul Thomassen Obituary

April 26, 1926 - July 22, 2016

John Paul Thomassen, M.D. was born on the family farm in Creighton, Nebraska on April 26, 1926, the youngest of eleven children. His parents were Wilhelm Thomassen and Thekla Neppl Thomassen.

Paul (JP) is survived by Arlene, his adorable wife of 66 years; his brother George Thomassen and sister Dolores Weisbecker; Arlene's sister Leona and Tom Detwiler; his son Jeff and daughters Terri Foley and Paula Rector; grandchildren Erika (Jose Cobar); Blake Rector (Megan Klenow); Clark Rector (Amy), Coleman, Austin and Tommy Foley and his great-granddaughter Eva Cobar and her brothers David and Ryan Cobar.

Paul will be dearly missed and remembered for his generosity and loyalty to hundreds of friends, colleagues and relatives. His lifelong passion for international politics and finance were second only to his love of family and medicine. A devout Catholic, he was a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus and the Newman Club of Los Angeles.

After graduating high school, Paul moved to Omaha to pursue higher education. To pay for his schooling, Paul worked numerous jobs. At Union Pacific Railroad, first in the locomotive shop and then as a "steno-typist" in the Freight Traffic Department, he was offered advancement. Instead, he chose to complete medical school at Creighton University, Omaha, graduating with an M.D. in 1950.

During medical school, he met his sweetheart, Arlene Marie Wombacher, a nurse, while they were both working at St. Joseph's Hospital in Omaha, NE. They were married on August 16, 1949 in Lawrence, NE, Arlene's hometown. The couple made many moves as they followed career opportunities. (Arlene says they moved seventeen times!) Paul completed a rotating internship at Los Angeles County General Hospital from 1950-1951. Private Family Practice followed in San Fernando Valley, CA and back in Neligh, NE, where the first of three children, Paula, was born in 1953.

The Navy called Paul for active duty as an officer (LT MC USNR) in 1954. The family moved to Oakland, CA and then to La Jolla, CA, where second child Jeff was born in 1955. After service in the Navy, the family moved to Portland, OR, where Paul engaged in a surgery residency from 1956 to 1960. This included a nine-month rotation at UCLA Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, CA, where third child Terri was born in 1958.

The next move to Anaheim, CA proved to be a permanent one. Paul set up Vascular & General Surgery private practice in 1960 and retired in 1994 after serving as chief of staff and chief of surgery -- among many other honorable community roles -- in Orange County hospitals. The Medical Board of the State California hired him as a medical consultant from 1995-2005.

Arlene and Paul were world travelers and loved cruises, including one to South America with children and grandchildren. Paul's passion for the USA inspired their travels to forty-nine states!

Between 2004-2014, Arlene and Paul took up residence in Reno, NV, spending winters at their beach condo in Dana Point.

In order to be closer to their children, Arlene moved to Golden Years Residential Home in Yuba City in 2013, near Terri and Jeff. Paul settled into his home in Yuba City shortly afterward. He visited Arlene twice daily, and spent the rest of his days growing corn, tomatoes & lemons, and dining and exploring the area with his family. He loved classical music and attending live music concerts with his daughters locally.

JP Thomassen died peacefully in his home on the morning of July 22, 2016, surrounded by his family. Visitation will be at Lipp & Sullivan, Marysville, CA 4-8 p.m., Friday, July 29, 2016. A memorial service will be held at St. Isidore Catholic Church, Yuba City, CA Saturday, July 30, 2016 starting with a Rosary at 10:00 a.m. followed by a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow at Sutter Cemetery; all are invited to a reception at his home in Yuba City, CA.

St. Joseph Hospital Foundation of Orange, CA and Creighton University of Omaha, NE were two of Paul's favorite charities.

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Published in Appeal Democrat on July 26, 2016
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