Jack Dawson Thomas, Col. (Ret.) age 93, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, December 27, 2019 under hospice care at Brookdale Senior Living in Overland Park, KS.
Jack was born May 24, 1926 in Burlington, Iowa, the only child of Maurice Dawson and Florence Lucille Jackson Thomas.
Jack graduated as valedictorian, class of 1944, Wapello High School, Wapello, Iowa. After a year in the Navy V-12 program, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY where he graduated in 1949 and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, beginning a 30-year career in the US Army. After graduation, Jack married his high school sweetheart, Leota Dodds, in June of 1950 in Wapello. They had 69 wonderful years of marriage and along the way had four children, Steven, Susan, Sara & Shelley (and numerous pets).
Immediately after their wedding, Jack was sent to Korea where he was part of the Inchon Landing at the beginning of the Korean War in September 1950. He was later wounded and received the Purple Heart. The family still has the damaged Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco tin and cartridge pen that was in the chest pocket of Jack’s field jacket that deflected the bullet and probably saved his life.
His other military assignments took him to Fort Benning, GA; Puerto Rico; Fort Campbell, KY; Fort Leavenworth, KS; Taichung, Taiwan; teaching at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; Vietnam; Fort Riley, KS; Washington DC; Ching Mai, Thailand; and Fort Sheridan, IL where he retired in 1979. He was a life member of AUSA and participated in MOAA activities.
After retirement, Jack and Le moved to Stone Mountain, GA. Jack kept busy during tax season working for H&R Block. They moved to Lansing, KS in 1992 to be closer to family in KS and IA. Jack was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Leavenworth, KS where he served as a Deacon and on various committees including Mission and one Pastoral Search. He particularly enjoyed the Adult Sunday School Class and the Monday noon Men’s Group.
Jack stayed busy volunteering. He served on the Leavenworth Salvation Army Board and was a dedicated bell ringer. He was a long-time volunteer at the Leavenworth Assistance Center. He loved reading to the Kindergarten class at Anthony School. Jack, along with Le, delivered Meals-on-Wheels every Tuesday for many years.
Jack was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He especially enjoyed preparing for the annual Easter egg hunt for the grandsons, and making clues for the scavenger egg hunt when the boys were older. He attended many of their youth baseball and basketball games. Jack and Le enjoyed their retirement years taking many trips including several cruises and West Point class & military reunions. Jack enjoyed golfing with his son-in-law Bill, working his daily crossword puzzle, playing bridge, jigsaw puzzles, reading, and college football (especially the annual Army Navy game).
Jack is survived by Le, his wife of 69 years; daughters Susan Thomas, Olathe, KS; Sara (William) Marion, Overland Park, KS; Shelley Thomas, Sugar Hill, GA; grandson Nathan (Mallory) Marion and great grandson, Van Thomas Marion, Kansas City, MO. He was preceded in death by son Steven Craig Thomas and grandson Zachary Marion.
Burial will be at Wapello, IA.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to First Presbyterian Church, Leavenworth, KS or Meals on Wheels. Condolences may be left for the family at www.sandhfuneralservice.com. The Snyder and Hollenbaugh Funeral and Cremation Services of Wapello is caring for Jack’s family.
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