William "Bill" Wayne Thomas
September 1, 1924-November 13, 2020
My grandfather, William "Bill" Wayne Thomas of Fenton, IL, made his last of 96 trips around the sun on Friday, November 13, 2020. In those years, he experienced the depression, WWII, numerous twirls on the dance floor, and 70 years of marriage with the love of his life (and occasional adversary), my late grandma, Lois.
He was a farmer, builder, gardener, dancer, winemaker, world traveler, WWII veteran, and friend to anyone he met. He could identify trees by their leaves and birds by their songs - knowledge that captivated us grandchildren when we were kids, and reminds me still to cherish my surroundings, and nurture my kids' curiosities. He read voraciously, was a wonderful conversationalist, and trivia teammate.
Like many other young people in the Erie area, I was fortunate to work with him during the summers of my adolescence. I have forgotten many of the carpentry skills he shared (except measure twice, cut once), but I will always treasure the importance of cookie breaks, his gentle correction if I made a mistake, and the way he treated people - with kindness, dignity, and respect. He supported his family in all their endeavors, and at 83 he and my mom traveled to Mongolia to visit my wife Ashley and me there as Peace Corps volunteers.
As he leaves this earth, I think he would want us all to be humble, kind, and to show the ones we love that we care with our presence. Safe travels, Grandpa. You will not be forgotten by any of us.
Written by his grandson, Mike Burden
Bill was born September 1, 1924 in Erie, IL, the son of Wayne and Ella (Sorbeck) Thomas. He married Lois Jeanne Johnson on August 19, 1950 in Davenport. They settled in Erie where he farmed and did carpenter and repair work on homes and farms. He enjoyed his family and was actively involved in his grandchildren's activities and lives.
Due to restrictions on gatherings, a Celebration of Life will be held at the family farm next summer. Burial will be in the Rock Island National Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the family and will be divided and distributed to the American Heart Association and National Kidney Foundation.
Bill is survived by his children, Candice Thomas-Kundert, Columbia, MO, Jeff (Pam) Thomas, Fenton, IL, David Thomas, San Jose, CA, Jon (Lori) Thomas, Cincinnati, OH; grandchildren, Kate (Tony) DeLaney, Mike (Ashley) Burden, Carrie (Charlie) Davis, Beau Thomas, Brooke Thomas, Nick (Lauren) Thomas, Craig Thomas, Drew Thomas; great grandchildren, Christina, Alex, Ezra, Sam, Theo, Taylor, Morgan, Alexys, Carter, Bryce, Bryant, Avery, MaKai, Harper Sue, Kayleighana, Myles, Aiden, Chandler, Samantha, and Aiden Michael; nine siblings with five surviving, Dorthea Daw of Milledgeville, IL, Eula Seger, Jim Thomas, Beverly Frohing and Paul Thomas, all of Erie. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois, and a granddaughter, Ashley DeLaney; siblings Ola Mae Blietz, Ruth Abshire and Bob Thomas. Share a memory or condolence at www.gibsonbodefh.com.