Havasu couple, married 70 years, die days apart
By ZACHARY MATSON TODAY’S NEWS-HERALD | 2 comments
Jimmy and Margaret Thomas were born within two weeks of each other in 1923 and married more than 70 years ago. They traveled and camped throughout the country, Canada and Mexico, and built a mountain cabin near Crestline, Calif.
Jimmy flew P-38s during WWII and Margaret worked for the Santa Fe Railroad, where the couple met. They had a daughter and a son, three grandkids and great-grandkids and eventually moved to Havasu where they spent their final years with family.
Last month, at age 91, the Havasu couple died – Jimmy on Nov. 17 and Margaret on Nov. 22 – just five days apart.
“(Margaret said) comments like, ‘My Jimmy is not coming back,’” the couples granddaughter-in-law Holly Thomas said. “She knew he was sick and not coming back.”
Jimmy and Margaret married on June 18, 1944 in Glendale, Calif. and had one daughter, Carol Thomas, and one son Allan Thomas, who died earlier.
Jimmy served in the Air Force from 1944 to 1946 as a fighter pilot of the 339th Fighter Squadron. He flew missions during several battles in the South Pacific and received a handful of medals.
He liked to talk about his military experiences and showed off a picture of himself and a fellow soldier on a sunny Pacific beach, standing beside a beer-can pyramid, Holly said.
Holly said they loved reading and camping. “They had a lot of friends and went camping and traveled all of the U.S.” They moved to Lake Havasu City about seven years ago and lived with Holly and their grandson Brian Thomas.
Holly remembered taking her grandparents out on the lake on a pontoon boat and Margaret enjoying a beer or glass of wine. They went to Desert Bar and on rides in the desert with Brian and visited Phoenix for a Nascar race.
The family plans to celebrate the couple and have services and a remembrance in California during the spring – around the time of Margaret’s birthday – and Jimmy’s too.
James “Jimmy” Roland Thomas, 91, of Lake Havasu City, passed away Monday, Nov. 17; just a five days later he was followed by his wife of 70 years. Margaret Ethel Thomas, 91, who passed away Saturday, Nov. 22. James was born April 24, 1923 in Mulberry, Kan. to the late John Morgan and Mary (Fleming) Thomas. Margaret was born May 9, 1923 in New Orleans
to the late Robert L. and Mary M. (Leech) Clayton
James and Margaret were married on June 18, 1944 in Glendale, Calif. and spent a wonderful, loving, lifetime together.
James served in the Air Force n 1944-1946, where he was part of the 339th Fighter Squadron, the 347th Fighter Group, and the P38 Fighter Pilot during WWII. During his time in the Air Force he was in several battles including New Guinea, Southern Philippines Luzon, and Air Combat duty Borneo. James received several medals including an Air medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medals, American Theater Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and a Philippines Liberation ribbon. Before and after his military career Jimmy worked for the Santa Fe Railroad.
James retired at age 44 from the railroad and he and Margaret camped and traveled the United States, Canada and Mexico for the next 20-some years. They both enjoyed reading, word search puzzles, spending time with their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and watching football and golf on TV.
Margaret and James are survived by a daughter, Carol Thomas of San Bernardino, Calif. and grandsons Brian Thomas of Lake Havasu City and Rodney and Ronnie Thomas of Riverside, Calif.; they are also survived by five great-grandchildren.
Margaret and James are preceded in death by their parents and son, Allan Thomas.
Services were placed in the care of Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home & Crematory.
Thoughts and condolences may be sent to James and Margaret’s family atwww.lietz-frazefuneralhome.com