William M. "Bill" Thomas grew up in Quilcene, the son of Maurice A. Thomas and Lucille LaVera Thomas. His father was a carpenter and worked for the U.S. Forest Service.
In his teens, Bill was an observer in a U.S. Forest Service lookout station. He also worked at gathering and shucking oysters for the operators in Quilcene Bay.
From an early age, Bill displayed a keen interest in sports. He participated in various sports, held season tickets to football games for several years and followed his favorite teams the rest of his life.
Bill graduated from Quilcene High School in 1944, and at age 17, he was employed by the U.S. Maritime Service as an apprentice seaman. He also worked in Fairbanks, Alaska, for a food and housing contractor, and later worked on Indian Island at the naval ammunition depot.
He learned carpentry from his dad and helped build homes on weekends and evenings.
In 1950, he married Rayetta Jeanne Magee. They moved to Port Townsend and raised five boys.
Bill spoke about hiking, camping and fishing with his five boys. They also enjoyed auto trips into Canada or Oregon. During a heavy snowfall one winter, they did some sledding down that long hill on Cook Avenue.
In Port Townsend, Bill worked for the Ammeter Oil Company from 1948 to 1965, with the exception of five years when he was the Signal Oil distributor.
He purchased the Ammeter Oil business in 1965 and operated as Thomas Oil until his retirement in 1989. Then, for 10 years, he worked with the two other landowner partners in dealing with the commotion surrounding the sale of the business property adjacent to Point Hudson.
Bill loved music and had a natural talent. He taught himself to play the accordion, then formed a band that provided music for dances in the area.
For a time, Bill owned The Arcadia, just south of the Port Townsend city limit, and they would have dances in the small barn located there.
Later, he brought a nice organ into his home and taught himself to play that with some proficiency.
From 1960 to 1965, Bill served on the Port Townsend City Council. He sponsored a team and participated in city league basketball activities in the '60s. He was a member of the Elks Lodge
No. 317 for 46 years.
Bill was known for his generosity to friends and enjoyed card parties and socializing. As he made oil deliveries to his customers in Jefferson County, he built friendships that have endured through the years.
He provided a home for his parents when they were older and was very thoughtful in taking care of his mother after his father died in 1975.
He married Sylvia in late 1975.
Bill passed away on January 24, 2014, from complications after a fall on January 14, when he broke several ribs.
He is survived by his wife, Sylvia, who resides at their home in Cape George; four sons, William Robert (Gloria), Michael, Don and Raymond; grandchildren Michel Grkov (Vance), Michael "Mikey" (Alexa), Joey, Matthew and Christian; great-grandchild Ty Grkov; and daughter-in-law Virginia.
He was preceded in death by his son Ronald and his sister, Joanne.
A family graveside memorial will be planned at a later date.
The family asks that remembrances be made to either the JHHA Memorial Fund, 834 Sheridan Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368; or to the GW Guild of Seattle Children's Hospital, c/o L. Gaede, Treasurer, 633 Van Buren Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368.