April 27, 1931 – June 9, 2021
Robert Alan “Bob” Thomas was born on April 27, 1931 in Olds to Charlie and Margaret (Whitehair) Thomas. He grew up on the farm near Betchton School, east of Olds. Bob’s lifelong love of machinery began on the farm, with homemade scrapers and graders making endless roads in the garden.
During the early 1950’s, Bob attended two terms at Olds School of Agriculture, where he made lifelong friends and had plenty of fun. In 1953, Bob married Betty Johnston of Cremona. At the time, Bob was a grain buyer for the Alberta Wheat Pool. Beginning in Delia, they lived in many places in southern Alberta, with the longest stretch being in Munson.
In 1963, Bob left the grain business and moved the family to Didsbury, where he worked for the County of Mountain View, grading and building roads. After three years, they moved to Edmonton so Bob could apprentice as a heavy duty mechanic. He loved working on big equipment, especially the big generators that ran the oil rigs. He was in high demand for his expertise and travelled countless miles from one end of the province to the other. He loved the open road, and his affinity with the Rockies’ Eastern Slopes was almost spiritual.
In 1985, Bob suffered a damaging heart attack. Many changes occurred after that and he made the decision to live independently from Betty and they divorced. Sometime after that, Bob met Doris Simons whom he married in 1989. They travelled extensively in their holiday trailer and overseas to several locations. Humour was a big part of Bob’s life. He had lots of quips and comebacks and loved to play word games with people. He was a friendly person and in his later years made a big effort to get to know the names of the staff in hospitals and lodges where he lived and befriended others.
Bob was very musical and played violin and guitar with a rich baritone voice well into his late years. He sang with many groups over the years from men’s quartets to a variety of choirs ranging from barbershop, church and community choirs.
Bob is remembered by his five children Kathie (Richard) Reid, Greg (Cindy) Thomas, Myrna (Ross) Shirlaw, Kim Thomas (Francis Hancock), Yvette Thomas; Doris’ children Henny Simons (David Strong), Bill Simons, Richard (Gerry-Ellen) Simons and Miranda (Joe) Reid; 10 grandchildren plus 22 great-grandchildren from the Thomas side; 8 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren from the Simons side; sisters Kay (Clair) Fischer and Betty Allen; brother Eric (Virginia) Thomas; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Bob is predeceased by his father and mother, his brother-in-law Cecil Allen and his wife Doris. He will be sadly missed. A private family service will be held on June 17, 2021 at 2:00pm. Live streaming of the service can be viewed at www.heartlandfuneralservices.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation. Heartland Funeral Services, Ltd., Didsbury, entrusted with arrangements. 403-335-4773 Condolences may be sent or viewed at www.heartlandfuneralservices.com.