William M. "Bill" Thomas passed away on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, from complications after a fall on Jan. 14, when he broke several ribs.
He grew up in Quilcene, Wash., the son of Maurice A. Thomas and Lucille LaVera Thomas. His father was a carpenter and worked for the U.S. Forest Service. In his teens, Bill was an observer in a U.S. Forest Service lookout station. He also worked at gathering and shucking oysters for the operators in Quilcene Bay.
From an early age he displayed a keen interest in sports. He participated in various sports, held season tickets to football games for several years and followed his favorite teams the rest of his life.
He graduated from Quilcene High School in 1944, and at age 17 was employed by the U.S. Maritime Service as an apprentice seaman. He also worked in Fairbanks, Alaska, for a food and housing contractor and later worked on Indian Island at the naval ammunition depot.
He learned carpentry from his dad and helped build homes on weekends and evenings.
In 1950 he married Rayetta Jeanne Magee. They moved to Port Townsend and raised five boys. He spoke about hiking, camping and fishing with his boys. They also enjoyed auto trips into Canada or Oregon.
In Port Townsend, he worked for the Ammeter Oil Company from 1948 to 1965, with the exception of five years when he was the Signal Oil distributor. He purchased the Ammeter Oil business in 1965 and operated as Thomas Oil until his retirement in 1989. Then, for 10 years he worked with the two other landowner partners in dealing with the commotion surrounding the sale of the business property adjacent to Point Hudson.
He loved music and had a natural talent. He taught himself to play the accordion, then formed a band that provided music for dances in the area.
For a time, he owned The Arcadia, just south of the Port Townsend city limit, and they would have dances in the small barn located there. Later he brought a nice organ into his home and taught himself to play that with some proficiency.
From 1960 to 1965 he served on the Port Townsend City Council. He sponsored a team and participated in city league basketball activities in the '60s. He was a member of the Elks Lodge No. 317 for 46 years.
He was known for his generosity to friends and enjoyed card parties and socializing. As he made oil deliveries to his customers in Jefferson County, he built friendships that have endured through the years.
He provided a home for his parents when they were older and was very thoughtful in taking care of his mother after his father died in 1975. He married Sylvia in late 1975.
He was preceded in death by one son, Ronald; and one sister, Joanne.
Survivors include his wife, Sylvia, who resides at their home in Cape George, Wash.; four sons, William Robert and his wife, Gloria, Michael, Don and Raymond; grandchildren, Michel Grkov and her husband, Vance, Michael "Mikey" and his wife, Alexa, Joey, Matthew and Christian; great-grandchild, Ty Grkov; and a daughter-in-law, Virginia.
A family graveside memorial will be planned at a later date.
The family asks that remembrances be made to either the JHHA Memorial Fund, 834 Sheridan Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368, or to the GW Guild of Seattle Children's Hospital, c/o L. Gaede, Treasurer, 633 Van Buren Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368.