Donald J. "Don" Thoma, 88, a Le Mars native and lifelong resident, died Tuesday, March 28, 2006, at Brentwood Good Samaritan Village in Le Mars following a lengthy illness.
Donald John Thoma was born June 22, 1917, at Le Mars, the son of Theodore and Mary (Karpen) Thoma. He grew up in Le Mars and received his education at St. Joseph's Catholic School. In his early years he worked in the Thoma Grocery Store, a business that his family owned and operated for many years. Later Don was employed by the Union Hotel as a desk clerk and Western Union teletype operator. He was inducted into the U.S. Army Jan. 11, 1943, and served his country overseas during World War II. Don was a cryptographic technician with the Signal Corp and attained the rank of TEC 5. He was honorably discharged from service April 27, 1946.
He returned to Le Mars after the war and married Gladys Molzen Aug. 5, 1946, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Don was a self-employed carpenter until his retirement.
Don was a lifelong member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, where he had been an usher for many years. He was a member of the American Legion, Wasmer Post #241 and the W.W.II Last Man's Club. He had also been an active volunteer for many years for the Plymouth County Historical Museum.
Don enjoyed traveling with Gladys to visit their children and grandchildren.
Survivors include his wife Gladys of 59 years; a son, Roger Thoma of Ames; seven daughters, Gloria Ohlendorf and Jose Alvarez of Cambria, Calif., Barbara and Brian Espeland of Ames, Janet and Joseph Higgins of Wayne, N.J., Nancy and Phil Groetken of Kansas City, Mo., Julie and Richard Wright of Chicago, Ill., Glenda and Mark Lockard of Pittsford, N.Y., and Kelli Thoma of Chicago, Ill.; 13 grandchildren: Jason Ohlendorf of Denver, Colo., Kim and Trace Jacobs of Phoenix, Ariz., Sarah and Rob Hosely of Kansas City, Mo., Erin and Xavier Young of Hong Kong, China, Michael Espeland of Los Angeles, Calif., Liz and Katie Higgins, both of Boston, Mass., Thea Dickman of Chicago, Ill., Nicholas Pagoria of Ann Arbor, Mich., Emerson and Adler Wright of Chicago, Ill., and Emily and Claire Lockard of Pittsford, N.Y.; two great-granddaughters, Rebecca Jacobs of Phoenix, Ariz., and Laura Hosely of Kansas City, Mo.; and sisters and brothers-in-law,Clifford and Dorothy Molzen of Minneapolis, Minn., Cleone Jacobson of Vancouver, Wash., Jerry and Carol Molzen of Falls Church, Va., and Norena "Nikki" Thoma of Denver, Colo.; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two brothers, Leonard and Raymond Thoma.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Le Mars, with the Rev. Kevin Richter officiating. Burial with military honors provided by the American Legion will be in Calvary Cemetery, Le Mars. Visitation will be anytime after 3 p.m. Friday at the Feuerstein Funeral Home, where there will be a scriptural wake service at 7 p.m. Friday evening.
Memorials may be directed to Brentwood Good Samaritan Village or Plymouth County Historical Museum.