Lawrence Reese Thomas, 80, of Sweet Home, Oregon passed away Thursday, June 18. He was born in Portland to Russell Reese and Stella Ruth (Lawrence) Thomas.
His family moved to Crawfordsville in 1941, where they operated Brush Creek dairy. At age 11 his father passed away 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.
Larry graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1958 and worked at Snow Peak Lookout before joining the United States Army the same year. He served from the age of 18 - 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, California until 1969, and their two children were born while there.
Larry attended a trade school, studying electronics and worked for the Bell System Telephone Company. The family moved to Crawfordsville in 1969. Larry 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.
He was recognized in his 1976 green Ford Bronco, as he delivered food for SHEM and visited with the many friends he made. Larry, known as “Butch”, began his journey with Jesus at age 11 at Crawfordsville church and continued into eternity.
Larry is survived by his wife, Gayle, of 58 years; his sisters Stella Jean Nyberg of Maplewood, MN and Shirley Moe of Roseville, California; his daughter Angie Emmert and her husband Greg of Salem; his son Corey and his wife 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 arrangements.