Funeral services for Duane A. Thomas, age 89, of Faith, SD were held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at the Bethel Lutheran Church in Faith, SD with Rev. Wayne Olson officiating. Burial with Masonic graveside rites and full military honors followed at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9 at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, SD.
Duane Arlee Thomas was born on Oct 29, 1922 to George William Thomas and Josephine (Schaffer) Thomas on the family farm near Dupree, SD. He graduated from Dupree High School in 1943. Duane was inducted into the US Navy on March 1, 1945. His Tour of Duty was on the US Didynsus, a repair ship that traveled all over the Pacific Ocean. When the Peace Treaty was signed with Japan, the USS Dionysus was the 14th ship to arrive in Tokyo Bay. He was honorably discharged as a Seaman 1st Class on July 12th, 1946. Duane and Alice (Perkins) were married on December 8th, 1945. Three children were born to this union; Renee on October 28, 1949, Randy on December 9, 1952 and Kurt on November 15, 1954.
Duane worked for the Milwaukee Railroad from 1948 to 1953, spending a lot of time away from his family. To avoid missing his children grow up, he went to work for Central Lumber Co. in Dupree in 1953 and was transferred to Mobridge in 1955. In 1956, he was offered a manager position in Underwood, ND where he spent three years managing Central Lumber Co. He also worked for one year at Great Plains Lumber. In September of 1962, he was presented with an opportunity to buy shares and become manager of Faith Lumber Co. in Faith, SD. He accepted the offer and was manager there until his retirement on Jan. 1st, 1990.
Duane served as a Director for the South Dakota Lumberman’s Association for many years. He also served on the Tri-County Soil Conservation District board for over 25 years. He was a member of the American Legion, Shriners, Order of the Eastern Star, life member of the VFW and was a 50 year member of the Masons. Duane loved traveling in his motorhome, making it to all 50 states along the way. He was an avid bowler, traveling to Eagle Butte or Bison once a week for league bowling. He loved to fish, hunt and golf. Unknown to his children, he was also termed the “Pool shark” by those who played pool with him in his earlier days.
Duane was raised on the family farm and always had a profound interest in how the planting and harvesting seasons were going. Duane and Alice were avid sports fans. They attended many State “B” Basketball tournaments. They loved watching all the kids, no matter what sport. Duane loved little children, nothing could bring a bigger smile to his face than when he saw a young child. He would wave and if he got a hug, life was good
Duane passed away on Tuesday morning, October 2, 2012 at the West River Regional Medical Center in Hettinger, ND.
He is survived by one son and daughter-in-law, Randy and Mona Thomas, Faith, SD; one son-in-law, Fred Reede, Meadow, SD; four grandchildren, Tanya and Bill Bushong, Faith, SD, Boyce and Melissa Reede and Scott and Marla Reede, all of Lemmon, SD and Jamie and Sabrina Thomas, San Diego, CA; nine great-grandchildren, Gereth, Treyton and Gabriel Bushong, Brianna and Jacob Thomas, Dillon and Kole Reede, baby Reede and Micah Reede; two sisters, Evelyn Anderson, Dupree, SD and Bernice Capp, Spearfish, SD; one sister-in-law, Vivian Thomas, Spearfish, SD; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Duane was preceded in death by his wife, Alice Thomas; his parents, William and Josephine Thomas; one daughter, Renee` Reede; one son in infancy, Kurt Thomas; one sister, Jean Capp; four brothers, Willis, Dennie, Stanley and Clinton Thomas; three brothers-in-law, Calvin Anderson, Donno and Chuck Capp; and two sisters-in-law, Ruby and Arlene Thomas.
Visitation was held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Monday, October 8 at the Evanson-Jensen Funeral Home in Lemmon and from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday evening at the Faith Area Memorial Chapel in Faith, SD.
In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established to the Shriners Children’s Hospital.
Condolences may be sent through our website at www.funeralhomesofcaring.com.