Gary Thomas

Obituary of Gary Martin Thomas

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Gary M. Thomas: In Memoriam Gary M. Thomas, storyteller, educator, and creator, died on September 18, 2023, leaving a legacy that touched the lives of many. His journey, filled with diverse professional roles, reflected his insatiable curiosity, boundless intellect, and profound commitment to service. Born in Long Beach, CA, Thomas embarked on a lifelong journey of artistic expression, knowledge, and compassion. His professional Ife was a tapestry woven with various roles, each reflecting his boundless passion and unwavering commitment to positively impacting the world. Gary began his journey as an animator and filmmaker, where his creative skills brought the characters of Gumby and Davey & Goliath to life on the screen. His short film, Tommy Gunn, won top honors at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and a film scholarship from Kodak helped fund his college education. His path led him to become a performer, captivating audiences with his comedic and spot-on impersonations, including a featured performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. His storytelling work took a turn when Gary served as the editor of a Naval newspaper on Midway Island, where he used his writing skills to inform and connect the naval community—and where he somehow found the time to DJ a weekly radio show. Following his time in the Navy, Gary's love for storytelling and a deep desire to empower others led him to become a teacher, nurturing the minds of countless students. His impact extended beyond the classroom, instilling in his pupils a love for learning and an appreciation for life's many lessons. After teaching in Los Angeles and a remote Alaskan village, Gary found a profound purpose in guiding others on their spiritual journeys as a minister, leading congregations for the next two decades. After retiring from the church, he became a prison chaplain, where his wisdom and compassion provided solace during times of need and support to individuals seeking redemption and transformation. While he held many professional titles, Gary’s favorite role was being a father. He loved his children and taught them to ask questions, to practice gratitude, and the importance of imagination. He helped quiz them for spelling bees, assisted in building science fair exhibits, and made clothes for their paper dolls. Gary was always there for them, whether cheering them on at track meets, helping them prepare for job interviews, or officiating at their weddings. He had a life-long affair with Orange-Cream Dilly Bars, homemade molasses cookies, John Wayne westerns, golf, and the English language. He excelled at puns, original stories, and imaginary play with his grandkids—leading safaris in the living room, playing customer at highly fancy restaurants in the den, and giving outlandish and highly comedic puppet shows. Gary will be remembered for his kindness and creativity and how he would pepper his sermons with celebrity impressions to contemporize biblical stories. Jimmy Stewart as Moses? Check. Sylvester Stallone as Goliath? Uh-huh. Sammy Davis as Samson? You better believe it. His was a life well spent. But if there was anything—other than deep faith—that defined Gary, it was his love story with Carol, his spirited bride of 65 years, who survives him and who, in his words, "Gave spice to the game." Gary is also survived by son Martin Thomas; daughters Pamela Thomas, Marilee (Thomas) Murdock, Lindsay (Thomas) Lucas; brother Greg Thomas; and grandchildren Christopher, Chelsea, Audra, Emerson, Elliot, Jackson, Hudson, and Harrison. He is preceded in death by his parents, Melvin G. and Irene (Galloway) Thomas; brother Gayle Thomas; and daughter Lori Thomas. A celebration of his life will be held on January 6, 2024, at Gateway Community Church, Washougal, Washington. Gary's life is a reminder that a well-lived life is defined not only by titles or achievements but also by the enduring love and positive impact one leaves on others. May his legacy continue to inspire us all.
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Gary Thomas

In Loving Memory

Gary Thomas

1934 - 2023

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