James "Jim" Lawrence Thomas, 77, died Dec. 13, 2013, at his home, following several years battling cancer.
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He was born March 20, 1936, in Sugar City, Idaho, to John Alexander Thomas and Marvella Annie Harris Thomas.
Jim attended Sugar-Salem High School, graduating in 1954. He joined the Idaho National Guard the same year and remained active until 1966.
Jim worked on a few local farms after graduating high school and married his high school sweetheart, Karen Mihlfeith of Plano in 1957. They were divorced in 1977. He worked as a mechanic from 1956 to 1962, and later opened his own repair shop. He also attended classes at Ricks College and Idaho State College extensions. He closed his business in 1964, and worked as an auto and tractor mechanic in Rigby and Idaho Falls.
From 1965 to 1977, he was a deputy sheriff for Bonneville County. He went to work at EG&G Idaho as an instrument assembly technician and as a lead electrical technician in Idaho Falls, Raft River, Three Mile Island, and Japan. He then continued on as a construction engineer at Lockheed Martin and Bechtel Corporation, retiring in 1995.
After retirement, he became a consultant for Lockheed, working on Pit 9, until the project's closure. He then went to work at the Elk's Lodge, doing their facility maintenance and repair for 13 years.
Jim was a member of the Bonneville County Search & Rescue for over 30 years. He was a member of the Elks and Eagles for several years, while also enjoying his beloved game of golf.
On Sept. 29, 1989, he married Laura "Laurie" Burgess. He inherited two children, Matthew and Jennifer.
Survivors are wife, Laurie; son, Matthew (Rachel Smith) Burgess; and seven grandchildren, LaCretia, Laekin, Mavanee, MayeRee, Garren, MaLaine, and Gideon, of Wellsville, Utah; daughter, Jennifer (Rick) Woods, of Idaho Falls; grandsons, Alexander James Hollibaugh, of Fort Campbell, Ky.; Chase Gokey, of Idaho Falls and Kristian Taylor, of Pocatello; sister, Dawn (Don) Virgin, of Sugar City; Sharlene (Tom) Milligan, of Driggs; brother, Norman (Ellen "Nellie" Dexter) Thomas, of Twin Falls; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by a sister and his parents.
Jim was a wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle, son and friend. He will be truly missed.
To celebrate his life, have a beer and remember what a good friend he was. There will be no funeral at this time. Anyone needing or wanting to pay their respects to the family may do so at Jim and Laurie's residence at any time.
A memorial will be held in Sugar City next spring. Memorial details will be posted at a later date. Condolences may also be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.
Published in Rexburg Standard Journal on Dec. 17, 2013