Howard Thomas, 77

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Howard Lee Thomas, 77, of Caldwell, formerly of Mountain Home, died March 19, 2006, of lung cancer.

Services will be held March 25 at 2 p.m. at Montana Avenue Baptist Church, 3120 S. Montana Ave., Caldwell.

Thomas was born on Dec. 18, 1928, in Manchester, Ola., to Elmer and Mae Thomas.

In 1938 the family moved from Anthony, Kan., to King Hill, Idaho,where eventually a farm was bought in 1941 in Glenns Ferry.

He worked the family farm with his dad doing what needed to be done until he joined the military service.

In February 1946 "the Marine Corps and Hawaiian Island of Oahu grew by one more 'almost' 18-year-old," his family noted. Howard served in the U.S. Marines, from 1946-1948, achieving Rifle Sharpshooter and Rifle Marksman status.

Following his discharge from the Marines in 1949, and finding not enough jobs to go around, the Army "then got the pleasure of Howard's wit and sparkly blue eyes," his family said.

During the Korean Conflict he served as an escort bringing home the boys that were lost to their loved ones.

His first job working on engines was at the Ford garage in Mountain Home.

He spent many years in Seattle building engines at Big Wheel Auto Parts, fulfilling one of his passions of building engines for limited hydroplanes.

With a new opportunity on the horizon Howard moved again, settling his family in Idaho in 1977.

Howard spent his career in Idaho Managing the KeyWest Engine ReBuilders in Caldwell. With his knowledge and skills in engine building and performance he was instrumental in putting several stock car drivers in the winner's circle.

Upon retirement in 1990 he could be found fishing at C.J. Strike, hunting the mountains of Idaho or spending time with his children, grandchildren and siblings.

He is survived by: his father, Elmer Thomas, of Salt Lake City Utah; his wife of 37 years, Phyllis; daughters Kandi (Ken) Andreason, Deb (Betty) Thomas, and Candice Thomas; sons Forrest (Michelle) Thomas, and Myron (Deon) Volk; two brothers, two sisters, 17 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Mae Thomas, and his son Hal Copple.