The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Lawrence Thomas


June 24, 2020

April 30, 1940 - June 18, 2020

Lawrence Reese Thomas, 80, of Sweet Home died June 18, 2020.

He was born April 30, 1940 in Portland to Russell Reese and Stella Ruth (Lawrence) Thomas.

His family moved to Crawfordsville in 1941, where they operated Brush Creek Dairy.

When Mr. Thomas was 11, his father died and his sister Jean and her family came to help run the dairy. Brother-in-law Willy Nyberg became his father figure, along with his childhood friend's father, Bill Haley.

Known as "Butch," Mr. Thomas began his journey with Jesus at age 11 at Crawfordsville Church and continued into eternity.

Mr. Thomas graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1958 and worked at Snow Peak lookout before joining the United States Army that same year.

He served from the age of 18 to 20 and was stationed in New Jersey and El Paso, Texas, at Fort Bliss.

He married Gayle Slater in 1962. They lived in North Hollywood and Burbank, Calif. until 1969, and their two children were born while there.

Mr. Thomas attended a trade school, studying electronics and worked for the Bell System Telephone Company. The Thomases moved to Crawfordsville in 1969.

Mr. Thomas worked for Sweet Home Telephone Company and later worked in Eugene for Bell System, where he retired in 1995, to enjoy camping, fishing and traveling with Gayle.

Driving about in his 1976 green Ford Bronco, he was very recognizable as he delivered food for SHEM and visited with the many friends he made.

Mr. Thomas is survived by his wife of 58 years, Gayle; sisters Stella Jean Nyberg of Maplewood, Minn. and Shirley Moe of Roseville, Calif.; daughter Angie and son-in-law Greg Emmert of Salem; son Corey and daughter-in-law Lisa of Crawfordsville; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his father in 1951, and his mother in 1993.

Sweet Home Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements.


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