Sky Scene 07

James David Thomas

August 13, 1946 ~ March 17, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

James Thomas Obituary

James (Jim) David Thomas’s journey in this life ended on March 17, 2024 in his home in Lorain, OH at the age of 77. Jim is the eldest son born to David Merlin and Eula Mae (Bocage) Thomas on August 13, 1946 in New Orleans, LA. Jim’s parents moved from New Orleans, LA to Chicago, IL and later to Allegan, MI where Jim graduated from high school. 

Jim proudly served his country from 1966 to 1968 in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. After returning from his tour in Germany he started courting his future wife, Rebecca (Becky) Ann Tyler. The two wed on June 20, 1970 and were married for 35 years prior to Becky’s passing in November 2005.

During their time in Pullman, MI. Jim worked at Rockwell, as a carpenter, at the power plant, and at the paper mill before starting as a millwright at Fisher Autobody. This combined his love of craftsmanship with his love for cars. Rising up the ranks of General Motors, he worked in Kalamazoo, MI; Indianapolis, IN; and after 28 years of service retired from the plant in Grand Rapids, MI. Jim had an amazing work ethic, but still made time to spend with his family and give back to the community.

When Jim was not working, his focus was on his family and community. Even after double shifts at work, he would make his children, Jenny and James, and any other neighborhood kids that came by, breakfast before sending them off to school. He was very active in showing love to his wife, children, grandchildren, mother, father, brothers and sisters. Jim also gave back to his community in so many ways. He helped to coach Little League Baseball, was passionate about participating in Walk-A-Thons that raised money for multiple sclerosis, was an unrivaled Girl Scout cookie salesperson for his daughter’s troop, served as a member of the Bloomingdale School Board, supported his wife in founding the Pullman Health Center and attended St Paul Lutheran Church in South Haven prior to moving to Ohio. As if that was not enough to keep him busy, he also volunteered as a police officer and firefighter in his community.

Jim valued family and enjoyed family gatherings where good Creole food, stimulating conversation and endless laughs were abundant. In addition to his love for his family, he also loved cars, especially those that went fast. At one point, Jim and his brothers, Terry and David, owned their own 1969 Camaros. But Jim’s was the fastest!!! And then there was the candy apple red, rag top convertible Corvette which we think may have broken some sound barriers and, without a doubt, gave some passengers heart palpitations. Later, Jim took to the skies on two occasions to go sky diving. He was even able to lure his brother David into going with him…one time. When he was not seeking adventure and wanted to relax, Jim enjoyed reading, taking pictures of nature, playing cards with family, planting flowers, taking long walks and an occasional ride in the dune buggy on the sand dunes.

While the diagnosis of Parkinson’s was devastating, Jim did not throw in the towel. He fought it every step of the way and continued living each day to the best of his ability. His son, James, and daughter-in-law, Heather, were with him every step of the way and provided him with the invaluable comfort of being at home surrounded by his family.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, David Merlin and Eula Mae Thomas; his wife, Rebecca (Becky); his brother Terry Thomas; sisters: Betsy (Elfrid) Payton, Melva (Roland) Roy, and Gwendolyn Judy Thomas; and nephew David Thomas III. He is survived by his brothers, David (Holly) Thomas II and Elton (Katherine) Thomas, his sister Sherry (Tim) Thomas-Cloud; his sister-in-law, Michelle Thomas; his children Jennifer (Marcus) Thomas-Powell and James (Heather) Thomas; his grandchildren: Everett Powell, Mercedes Thomas, Mahogany Powell, Maximus Powell, Jairus Thomas, Jaelle Thomas, Gianna Thomas, and Zemira Thomas, his great-granddaughter Inez-Mae Thomas, and a host of loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Jim is known as a kind, loving, strong, determined, and hardworking man. He was known for his catch phrases, “Sounds like a plan!”; "No pain, no gain!"; and “Every day is an adventure!” Jim was an amazing son, brother, husband, father, cousin, nephew, friend, uncle, neighbor, and grandfather. Jim loved fiercely, deeply, and completely and was always a chivalrous gentleman. Everyone who knew him loved him because he was truly a good human being who looked out for others. He will be missed!

 If he were here today, he would tell you to take care of yourself, fight until the end, and enjoy your life to the fullest because every day is an adventure!

The family will receive friends on Friday, March 22, 2024 from 5PM to 7PM at Chappell Funeral Home: 637 W. Main St – Fennville, MI. Homegoing service and repast will be held at Christ Community Church: 3370 113th Ave – Allegan, MI on Saturday, March 23, 2024 beginning with a viewing at 11AM, followed by a service at 12PM. The burial will follow at Lee Township Cemetery in Pullman, MI. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jim’s name may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or Parkinson’s Foundation.

We, Jim’s family, would like to thank each and every person for all of the prayers, calls, messages, cards, flowers, emails, and all of the other many acts of kindness you have showered upon us during this time. Whatever we have needed, you all have stepped up helped in every way. We are truly grateful and blessed by your friendship and loving care. Many thanks to Christ Community Church, Pastor Wally, and all the members who have rallied behind us to give Jim a great homegoing celebration. May you all be richly blessed.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James David Thomas, please visit our floral store.

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March 22, 2024

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Chappell Funeral Home
637 West Main Street
Fennville, MI 49408

March 23, 2024

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Christ Community Church
3370 113th Avenue
Allegan, MI 49010

Funeral Service
March 23, 2024

12:00 PM
Christ Community Church
3370 113th Avenue
Allegan, MI 49010


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