James Elmer Thomas, 89 of Harrison, passed away quietly at his home on Saturday, June 5, 2021. James was born May 27, 1932, in Harrison, Michigan the son of Francis Delbert Thomas and Ellen Cordelia (Clute) Thomas.
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Jim lived his life as a true competitor and athlete! If he wasn’t home, he was out playing! He spent most of his free time pursuing a ball, on a court, on a green or on his favorite venue…...a ball diamond. He traveled the country playing softball with some of the top teams in the country, competing in national tournaments, the Senior Olympics and in the Huntsman World Games. His softball career culminated in the induction to the Senior Softball Hall of Fame, an honor he was deeply proud of!
Jim’s career choices found him in a life of service. After high school, he enlisted in the National Guard and then Navy, where he served during the Korean War aboard the USS Arneb. Most recently he participated in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where he was able to visit the memorials and was given a day to remember! After his discharge from the Navy, Jim joined the force as a Michigan State Trooper posted in St. Ignace and Gibraltar, Michigan. Later, Jim returned to school and graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in Education. Jim retired from public education after 30 years in the classroom at the elementary level in Royal Oak, Michigan. During that time, he also coached the district’s girls’ basketball and softball teams. Retirement found Jim living in Michigan during the summer months, and traveling to warmer places, Arizona and Florida, during the winter so he could continue to play his beloved sports. Jim was also a true adventurer!
When Jim wasn’t at home in his woods at Oak Knob feeding his birds or cutting wood, he loved to travel the country in his van finding roads he hadn’t driven, places he hadn’t seen, and visiting distant family and friends! He loved sharing his travel adventures with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren! Jim loved to read, watch documentaries and never lost his love of learning!! He will be greatly missed by his siblings, children, grandchildren, extended family and friends.
Surviving Mr. Thomas are his three daughters: Linda Marie Thomas-VanConant and husband William of Royal Oak, Michigan, Deborah Ann Allen of The Villages, Florida and Katherine Eileen-Thomas Eckhout and husband Michael of Clarkston, Michigan, five grandchildren: Tara VanConant, Brian VanConant, Kimberly Green and husband Joey, Connor Eckhout and Rachel Eckhout, five great-grandchildren: Nittaya Maelee, Paityn Noelle, Delainey Ann, Alaysia Lorelei and Faelynn James, one sister, Sally Michalski and husband Stanley of Romulus, Michigan, two brothers: Lawrence Thomas of Mount Pleasant, Michigan and Robert Thomas of Harrison, many nieces, nephews and extended family members. Mr. Thomas was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, William Thomas and two sister in-law’s: Judith Thomas and Brenda Thomas.
A private “Celebration of Life” service and Military Honors for Mr. Thomas will be held Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. from the Thomas Residence, 4620 North Grant Avenue, Harrison, Mi. 48625. Memorial gifts in memory of Mr. Thomas may be considered to: American Heart Association, PO Box 840692, Dallas, Texas 75284-0692. To share an online memory or condolence with Mr. Thomas’s family, please visit: www.stockingfuneralhome.com. Arrangements and care of Mr. Thomas and his family are entrusted with Stocking Funeral Home, Harrison (989)539-7810.