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John Cavanaugh Thomas

Obituary Condolences

1926 ~ 2013
John Cavanaugh Thomas died in Mesquite, Nevada on November 19, 2013 after a short illness. He was totally original, adventurous, charming, witty and artistic. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
John was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 20, 1926 to Leonard Giles Thomas and Martha Hazel Early Thomas. He was born third in a family of four boys. His brothers Leonard, Nelson and Charles all preceded him in death.
The boys spent their early years in Pioche, Nevada and Tooele, Utah before the family moved to Salt Lake City in 1941. John attended East High School and graduated from the University of Utah in 1951. He proudly served his country in World War II aboard the Navy command ship USS Estes, part of an amphibious assault group that saw action in the Pacific at Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Philippines. After the war John worked for KDYL one of Utah's first radio and TV stations where he was known as Johnny Thomas the television tenor singing and pitching ads for local Salt Lake City businesses in the 50's. John then went on to race hydroplanes for several years in the Pacific northwest once racing for the world speed record in a 20 ft. boat.
John was very successful in business and investing as a young man. He worked in the securities business, banking, real estate and ran several businesses of his own, including Salt Lake City's first Mercedes-Benz dealership.
He married Marion Bowman in 1948, then divorced in 1956. He married Dixie Joan Nielsen in 1957. They lived in Phoenix, Arizona and American Fork, Utah before moving to a small ranch near Herriman, Utah where they lived for over 25 years. John ran a real estate business that was one of the first to develop and sell residential properties in this now-crowded corner of the Salt Lake valley.
In his later years, John turned his attention to writing and published many articles and a well-received novel, Doc Yak. John and Joan moved to Mesquite, Nevada in 1997 where they enjoyed a happy retirement.
John is survived by his wife, Joan; daughter, Terry (Dennis) Divoky, and Nancy Mecham; son, Matthew; daughter, Heidi; and several grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at the Mesquite United Methodist Church, 420 Pioneer Rd., Mesquite, Nevada.
The family invites you to leave a message or memory on the Virgin Valley Mortuary "Memorial Guest Book" at www.virginvalleymortuary.com.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune on Dec. 15, 2013
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