A graveside memorial service will be held on Friday, April 25, at Mountain View Cemetery at 2:30 p.m.
Known later in life as "Papa" or "Tommy," he was born on Feb. 20, 1919, in the Tennesse farmhouse of his parents, Sadie Hyder and Samuel Thomas.
Tommy was a man of honor, his family said, serving in WWII for the US Army, completing two tours of duty, receiving two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. Upon his return from that service he served a short term with the Air Force, "always fighting for a country he so much believed in," his family said.
Once he was discharged from the military, Tommy became one of the men who built Anderson Dam. That is where he met his wife, Idonna Gladys Ferbrouch. The couple raised three sons, Dennis, Chucky and Dave. The couple had celebrated 50 years of marriage just prior to Idonna's death in 2000.
In the 89 years of Tommy's life, he had mastered the skill of building rock homes and fireplaces, riding horses as a "youngin'," growing the "best darn garden that everyone loved to get food from," and collecting Native American artifacts, his family said. "All of these where true passions of this great man."
"Tommy was also known at the Desert Inn prior to its closing. He was very down about the closing of the 'DI' and was upset that he would never find another place to 'hang out' and drink coffee," his family said. "Thankfully, Joe's Steakhouse welcomed him into their establishment, where he enjoyed drinking coffee every afternoon."
"To those that loved and cherished him, 'Papa' left many wonderful memories to hold in their hearts," his family noted. "Memories that include for the great-grandkids, going to Papa's house, going right to the fridge for a slice of cheese and a kid soda. His granddaughter will always remember huge watermelons from his garden that grew with her name on them. Charissa will always remember their first meeting when Papa pulled her ponytail."
Tommy is survived by: daughter in-law Charissa Thomas, his granddaughter, and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Idonna, his three sons, and most of his siblings.
"Words cannot express the pain left in our hearts with Papas passing, but we know he is with his family he so greatly missed," his family said.