James Thomas

JAMES ROBERT THOMAS, 68 POPLAR GROVE - James Robert Thomas "Jim Thomas, Good Guy", 68, of Poplar Grove, passed away in Belvidere, with family by his side on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, as a result of a traumatic head injury. Jim was born in 1944 in Vancouver, BC, to William Robert Thomas and Thelma Kathleen (Pollack) Kornacki. Jim married Joan Marie King on Dec. 26, 1964, in Superior, Wis. He retired from Chrysler in 2007 after 20 years as a welder repairman and among previous jobs during his 49 years in the Rockford area; he had been a police officer for the City of Rockford, and an EMT/Fire fighter for the Harlem-Roscoe Fire Department. He was a friend of Bill W. and proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous since May 25, 1989. He was also a member of the Alano Club of Rockford, UAW Local 1268 and the Rock River Valley Blood Center, working on his 17th gallon. He was a car guy and enjoyed competing in the sports of autocross and drag racing. He enjoyed every aspect of building, rebuilding, and fixing Corvettes and was well known for always having the part that someone else needed at a competition. He was a member of the Midwest Region (MWR) of the National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) since 1994. He was a member of Mad City Vettes, and previously a long time member of the Northern Illinois Corvette Club. He is the NCCC 2010 National Champion and the NCCC Drag Class 2G Record Holder. He is the 1997 and 2005 MWR Champion and served as their 2001 and 2002 Competition Director. Many thanks to Rev. William Wentink, staff at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, and Manchester Country Kennels. Survived by his wife Joan; daughters, Katy Jackson, Sandi (John Hoeksema) Thomas; son, James "Duffy" Thomas, II; grandchildren, Ashley McMullin, John McMullin, II, Erik Jackson, Karl Jackson, James "Fox" Thomas, III, Roark Thomas; great-granddaughter, Brynlee McMullin; mother, Thelma; brother, William L.; aunts; uncles; cousins; brothers and sisters-in-law, Joyce Driessen, Reni and Tom Lynch, Geri and Gale Kafka, Bob and Pat King, Barb King, Pete and Deb King, Steve and Anita King; many nieces and nephews; loyal companion, Piper. Predeceased by father, William R.; brothers-in-law, Ron King, Leon Kiener, Manny Driessen; and longtime sidekick Barney, the Racing Dog. Funeral service at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, in Buck-Wheeler-Hyland Funeral Home, 218 W. Hurlbut Ave., Belvidere, with the Rev. William Wentink, chaplain of OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, officiating. Visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, in the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Alano Club of Rockford or Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary. For online condolences, buckwheelerhyland.com.

Published in Rockford Register Star from Jan. 24 to Jan. 25, 2013