American Veteran 04

Ray Lewis Thomas

November 24, 1927 ~ December 10, 2021 (age 94)

Obituary

Ray L. Thomas, 94, of Yuma, AZ passed away Dec. 10, 2021 from causes incident to age and complications related to COVID-19.  Born on Nov. 24, 1927 in Price, UT to Chester James and Elsie Ross Thomas, he was the second of four children. In 1931 the family moved to Eagle Rock, CA (Los Angeles area) where Ray spent the majority of his childhood.  In the early 1940s they moved back to Price where Ray graduated from Carbon High School and attended the College of Eastern Utah prior to serving in the Army from 1946 to 1947 (1473rd Engineer Maintenance Company, Fort Lewis, WA).  Following his honorable discharge from the military, Ray continued his education at the University of Utah Law School, graduating with his Juris Doctorate in 1951. He was admitted to the Utah State Bar on June 13th of that same year.

He married Bernice Liechty on Aug. 18, 1949 in Springville, UT.  Together they had four children: Craig (Janet), Bruce (Jody), Terry (Cathy), and Pamela (Kim Christy). Ray and Bernice raised their family in Salt Lake City where Ray served as a Cub Scout leader and Little League baseball coach. He worked hard to support his family and was employed as legal counsel for the Utah Legislature, as General Counsel for both Utah Motor Club and Great Western Motor Club, and finally, as an agent for State Farm Insurance, from which he retired in 1995. During his tenure with State Farm he earned several awards and was recognized for his outstanding service. From 1982 to 1986 he took service to a new level when he lovingly and faithfully cared for Bernice during the final stages of her life.

Ray married Delight Riding on Oct. 6, 1990 in Las Vegas, NV. Seven years later they became “snowbirds,” splitting their time between Salt Lake City, UT and Yuma, AZ before deciding to become “year-rounders” in Yuma.  She brought into his life six children, all of whom he considered his own: Tom Duffield (Marlene), James Duffield, Bob Riding (Carol), Nancy Arehart (Gary), Jaylene Boyer (Mike), and John Riding.   In 2016, Ray stood devotedly at Delight’s side when she passed away.

On Sept. 29, 2018 in Yuma, AZ, Ray (then age 90!) married Florence Ennenga. Their union enriched the last years of his life and brought him two more children: Mary Witti and Harry Westphal (Sherry).

With three combined families, the number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren has grown to an impressive amount: 42 grandchildren, over 120 great-grandchildren and even a few great-great grands! He was very proud to claim such a vast number of posterity, both biological and inherited.

As a member of the Loyal Order of Moose International since 1951, Ray was a dedicated leader. He was part of the Ritual Staff for many years and also held every local position as well as several national offices. At one time, he was the Loyal Order of Moose Deputy Supreme Governor for the State of Utah, and he ultimately attained the degree of Pilgrim, the highest post in the organization. This achievement was the highlight of his life. In addition to his activity with the Lodge, Ray enjoyed driving (he was exceedingly proud of his 79-year perfect driving record), reading and watching westerns, singing (he had a beautiful singing voice), bowling, shooting, camping, card games, and crossword puzzles (which he was really good at).

Ray is survived by his wife (Florence), his children, one sister (Arlene Gilbert), and many grand and great-grandchildren. In addition to his first two wives, he was preceded in death by his parents, his brother (Max), one sister (Jean Stevenson), one granddaughter (Christie Thomas Sumner), and one grandson (Robert Thomas).

Funeral services will be held Monday, Dec. 20, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at the Holbrook Mortuary, 3251 South 2300 East, Salt Lake City, UT. Viewing from 11:30-12:30 p.m., prior to the service. Masks encouraged.  Services will also be live-streamed—please use this link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83854255741?pwd=NW5nY0RVTndRWUlpRWNrbTR3WkI1dz09 

Interment will follow at Wasatch Lawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make a charitable donation to Mooseheart Child City and School: Mooseheart International, 155 S. International Dr., Mooseheart, Illinois 60539-1180. 


Services

Visitation
Monday
December 20, 2021

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Holbrook Mortuary
3251 South 2300 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84109

Funeral Service
Monday
December 20, 2021

1:00 PM
Holbrook Mortuary
3251 South 2300 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84109

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