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Richard Thomas

Friday, September 7, 2012

Richard Thomas

May 23, 1929 - Sept. 5, 2012

PENSACOLA, Florida -- Capt. Richard (Dick) Terry Thomas, U.S. Navy retired, died Sept. 5, 2012, in Pensacola, Florida.

He was born May 23, 1929, in Chamberlain, South Dakota, and graduated from Custer High School in Custer, South Dakota, in 1947. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1951.

During 28 years in the Navy, he served on ships including the USS Princeton, the USS Antietam, the USS Lexington and the USS Camden. He earned his aviator's wings in March 1959 and his flight duty stations included Kodiak, Alaska; San Diego, California, Patuxent River, Maryland; Jacksonville, Florida; Milton, Florida; and Pensacola. He attended post-graduate school in Monterey, California, in 1966, and earned a master's in financial management. From 1967 to 1969, he served with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., and was assigned to the State Department for the final year as liaison to Secretary of State Dean Rusk. After retirement in 1978, he served 15 years as a Panama Canal Pilot, accumulating 1,677 shipboard transits across the Isthmus of Panama.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marian Jean Roberts Thomas. Other survivors include his brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Ginny Thomas of St. Helens, Oregon; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Donald and Agnes Roberts of McCook, Nebraska; his children, Kathy Thomas of Boone North Carolina, Jean Quisenberry, John Thomas and Janet Thomas, all of Pensacola; and two grandchildren, Anna (Quisenberry) Boomer, wife of Air Force Lt. Kyle Boomer of Columbia, South Carolina, and Robert Quisenberry, who is serving on the USS Greeneville, a submarine homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

No formal services are scheduled at his request. The family will hold a celebration-of-life ceremony at a later date. His ashes are to be scattered in the Gulf of Mexico, where many pleasant hours were spent working, fishing and boating.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to charity.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Trahan Family Funeral Home in Pensacola, Florida.