John Patrick Thomas, age 73, of Centerville, passed away Monday, October 28, 2019 at Centerville Specialty Care.
He was born February 17, 1946 in Centerville, Iowa, the son of Paul Willard and Lula Maurine Thomas. John received his education from Centerville Schools, graduating from CHS in 1966. John later received his associate’s degree from Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa.
He enlisted in the United States Army on October 25, 1966. John served his country faithfully during the Vietnam War, receiving numerous medals, such as the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Sharpshooter Badge, and the National Defense Service Medal. He was honorably discharged on January 31, 1969.
John was united in marriage to Mary Elizabeth “MaryBeth” Lowe on March 8, 1969 in Bloomfield, Iowa. The couple were blessed with two children, David and Lora.
John served as a patrol officer with the Atlantic Police Department for three years, 1974-1977. John and MaryBeth relocated their family to Centerville in 1977. It was during this period of time that he accepted a position as an Equipment Operator I with the Iowa Department of Transportation in Centerville. A career spanning twenty-seven years, John retired as an Equipment Operator II with the Iowa Department of Transportation in 2004.
With a lifelong call to public service, John made the courageous decision to serve his country once again in the military. A member of the Army National Guard Unit from March 14, 1987 to March 13, 1993, John served during Desert Storm. He was also a dedicated recruitment officer for the Army National Guard.
In his free time, he possessed many passions, such as fishing, camping, traveling, attending his children’s extracurricular activities, and being active as a former member of the First Baptist Church in Centerville, with church related activities such as Forrest Lake Baptist Camp and BYF, and also Marriage Encounter for several years.
John is survived by his wife of fifty years, MaryBeth Thomas of Centerville, Iowa; two children, David (Tammy) Thomas of Fairfield, Iowa, and Lora Thomas-Jones (Ron Eddy) of Moulton, Iowa; three nieces/nephews that they raised as their own children, Stephanie (Duane) Thompson, Chris (Danielle) Howard, and Megan (Keith) Foglesong; one brother, Allen (Peg) Thomas; a sister, Paula Hindley; six grandchildren, Logan (Jessica) Thomas, Nicole (Andy) Kerr, Rachel Thomas, Drennen Eddy, Xander Jones, and Xavier Jones; one great granddaughter, Henley Kerr; and eight great nieces and nephews, Seth Thompson, Emma Thompson, Aidan Howard, Haven Bunton, Charles Hale, Olivia Balliet, Ashram Foglesong, and Kira Foglesong.
John was preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services will be held at 10 AM, Saturday, November 2, 2019 at Lange Funeral Home and Crematory in Centerville with Pastor Jeremy Croteau officiating. Burial with military rites will follow in the Oakland Cemetery, Centerville. A visitation will take place on Friday, November 1, 2019 at Lange Funeral Home in Centerville, with the family greeting friends from 4-7 PM. Memorials have been established to either EveryStep Hospice or to the University of Iowa Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence, and may be mailed to Lange Funeral Home and Crematory, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, Iowa, 52544. Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.
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