American Veteran 01

John Robert Thomas

July 7, 1931 ~ December 16, 2021 (age 90)

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John Robert Thomas died peacefully in his sleep in Scottsdale, Arizona on December 16, 2021. John was 90. Born July 7, 1931 near Buffalo, New York, John moved to the Palm Springs area with family in 1947. After losing both parents at 17, Dad joined the Army to serve in the Korean War. Upon discharge, he enrolled at UCLA and met Margie, our beautiful mother and his wife of more than 66 years. Dad often attributed his success to Mom, who polished his sense of style and manners, his commitment to lifelong learning, and the GI bill. After becoming a CPA (acing all parts of the exam on the first try), Dad devoted his career to Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers) for more than 24 years. He became Partner and then Managing Partner of the Cleveland, Ohio office; returning to California for his dream job of establishing the Newport Beach office and then retiring in 1984. Dad was so dedicated that after the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, he was the only one who drove to Los Angeles and walked up 20 flights of stairs to check on the office. Dad went on to consult with several businesses before moving to Prescott, Arizona in 1997. Several community organizations enjoyed his wisdom and leadership including SCORE, Yavapai Symphony Association (Treasurer), Sharlot Hall Museum (Board of Trustees), Habitat for Humanity, and the Hassayampa Golf Club (Board of Directors). John and Margie were members of several clubs including Big Canyon Country Club for over twenty years.  Friends remember John as a “dear friend, great golf and bridge partner, book reviewer, political pundit, and super BBQ grill master,” and a great travel companion on adventures to Asia, Europe, and Australia. Margie and John were a devoted couple who provided a rare model of commitment in a lasting marriage. We cherish the image of them dancing every night on our family cruise celebration for their 50th anniversary. Family remembers John as caring, curious and honest. Dad’s goal was to teach us empathy before being kind was “on trend.” We are grateful for fond memories of Balboa Island vacations, a camping tour of Yellowstone, and our Labrador Retriever Smokey. Dad knew a lot about people because he was interested and listened. He was also one of the best conversationalists ever as even at 90 he was an expert on world history because “he’d read about it.” Dad is survived by his beloved Margie, daughters Ellen Thomas Reibling and husband Lyle, Marianne Thomas Solem and husband Kurt, granddaughters Whitney Solem Ampolsky (Matt), Melissa Solem (Aybars Turan), Brynne Solem Sininger (Steve), and 6 ½ great-grandchildren. A memorial for John will be held later in 2022 at Riverside National Cemetery.


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