August (Tom) Thomas, 95 years old, passed away on February 22, 2013, in Manteca, CA. He was born October 4, 1917 in Georgetown, Indiana to Clarence L. Thomas (father), and Catherine Thomas (mother).
He had five brothers and one sister, all resided in New Albany, IN and all are deceased.
August was raised in his youth during the great depression (1929 to 1940) and worked doing chores for neighbors such as cutting grass for ten cents, carrying papers, caddying for golf for 25 cents and other odd jobs trying to help the family make a meager living until World War II. He completed high school in 1935 and went to work as a carpenter helping his father in the carpentry business building houses, Army barracks at Fort Knox, KY and helped building Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.
In 1939 he was working building power plants around the U.S. for E.I. DuPont & Co. World War II started December 7, 1941 and Tom enlisted in the Navy on April 7, 1942 in Oklahoma City, OK while working carpentry for DuPont.
He joined the Navy as a Carpenters Mate, 2nd Class Petty Officer. He attended boot camp at Great Lakes, IL and was sent overseas on the USS Hunter Liggett APA transport from San Francisco and after 26 days at sea, landed in Guam, then to Espirito Santos, then to Tulagi, Guadalcanal under heavy enemy fire and bombings for four months and four days. It was pure hell on that island. He had malaria fever a numerous amount of times and God only knows how he made it off of the island alive.
Tom was sent to MOB4 hospital in Auckland, New Zealand on January 4, 1943, and was there for 3 months. The hospital ship Mercy came in to port and brought him back to U.S. San Diego Hospital for four months. He then was sent to the recuperation department for two months and was discharged from the Naval Hospital, in Oakland, CA in March 1945.
From there he went to work at Treasure Island in November 1945 for the Navy as a civilian and worked there for 23 years.
He was married to Rosalie Thomas for 23 years until her death from cancer. After five years he met and married for the second time Eloise Thomas until her death in June 2010. Mr. Thomas had a wonderful life being married to the most wonderful women in his lifetime.
Mr. Thomas was a member of Guadalcanal Veteran’s Association, AOPA, Aircraft owners and pilots association for over 50 years as a private pilot and for six years was on search and rescue for the U.S. Air Force. Mr. Thomas belongs to the Fleet Reserve Association in Stockton. He was a person that believed it was always better to give than to receive.
Mr. Thomas, upon his discharge from the Naval Hospital in Oakland, CA, was issued three citations for his “Beyond the call of duty”, one from the President of the U.S., Franklin D. Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, and one from Admiral Kincaid, in charge of all Naval bases in the South Pacific in 1943 and 1944.
Mr. Thomas was attached to the USN, 6th N.C.B. and the 1st Marine Division, Reinforced and his unit code name was “Operation Cactus”.
Tom was an avid large game hunter and a very good golfer.
A special thank you to Shanna Reid, ARNP-BC home based, primary care extended care service, Veteran’s Affairs, Modesto for wonderful care and a truly beautiful angel for her caring ways.
Not to forget many friends he and his wife had at the Senior Center, Manteca, and many friends in Guadalcanal Veteran’s Association, AOPA, Aircraft owners and pilots association and the “Almond Blossom Mobile Home Park”.
He was a person that believed it was better to give than to receive.
Mr. Thomas leaves behind a daughter, Karin Thomas Ballard, granddaughter Kimberly Ballard, grandson Christopher Ballard, grandson Thomas Ballard Jr.,
and great granddaughter Rosie Wesley, all residing in Fairhope, Alabama.
He also leaves behind a step-son Bill and wife Alberta Early, and step-daughter Barbara and husband Rick Jager.
Remembrances for Mr. Thomas will be held at Almond Blossom Mobile Home Park, 1901 E. Yosemite Ave. on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
Burial will be at San Joaquin National Cemetery, Santa Nella, CA on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 1:00 p. m.
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Tuesday, February 26, 2013