John Thomas, 89

John Franklin (Jack) Thomas passed away on January 21, 2024, at Aspen Place Health Campus in Greensburg, Indiana.  Jack was born February 6, 1934.  the son of James Plumber & Alene Ruth (Allen) Thomas, in Knightstown, Indiana.  He graduated from Knightstown High School in 1952.  He was married to Letha Olive (Ollie) Benham on June 2, 1962.  

He was active in the Murat Shrine, Mason, & Commandry for several years traveling around all over the country and competing in Drills for the Commandry, then participating in parades with the Shriner’s.  He was also active in the Republican party in Decatur County for several years and was instrumental in starting the annual Republican Golf outing.  He helped Rex Early in his run for the gubernatorial primary in 1996, he involved seven of his grandchildren by making them the “Early Birds”.  He had shirts made with “Early Birds” and they would ride around with him in parades chanting a campaign slogan or go to various venues and chant a cheer for Rex.  He truly enjoyed being out and about and spending time with everyone he encountered.  If he knew you very well, he had a nickname for you.  All his kids and grandkids were given a nickname.  While being in the nursing home he gave numerous people nicknames all of which are fondly remembered by all the staff.

He worked at Container Company of America in Carthage, Indiana, International Harvester in Indianapolis, Indiana, and retired from American Designer in Knightstown, Indiana.  He enjoyed Lionel Trains, taking pictures of all the activities his family participated in, Cincinnati Reds baseball, playing several musical instruments including, guitar, banjo, ukulele, piano, organ, & the trumpet.  He would often come home from work, or from the nursing home after visiting with his wife and play the organ that they had in their home.  He also had a little dog named Buddy that he adored who proceeded him in death.  

He is survived by his sister Mary June Fisher of Phoenix, AZ as well as his brother in law Dick (Sue) Benham, &  sister in law Kathy (Tim) Reece,  four children, James (Jim) Thomas, Galen (Candace Trzaskowski) Thomas, John (Sara) Thomas, & Kathy (Rick) Vanderbur, 10 Grandchildren, Scott Hack, Ashley (Anthony) Strater, Heather (Ashley) Thomas, Vicki (Scott Vanderbur) Thomas, Erica (Dan Halcomb) Thomas, Jasmine Thomas, Nicole (Joseph) Kern, Joe (Megan Kimbly) Vanderbur, Breann Mefford and Brycen Mefford, as well as 9 great grandchildren, & numerous nieces & nephews.

He was preceded by his wife Ollie, his parents, his brother in laws Harold Fisher, Phoenix, AZ, Larry Pfeister Indianapolis, IN, Bill Borneman, Indianapolis, IN, Ervin Ahrens, Greensburg, IN, Sister In laws Nellie Pfeister, Indianapolis, IN, Ethel Borneman, Indianapolis, IN, Patsy Ahrens, Greensburg, IN, his niece Debra Ahrens, his nephew Stanley Pfeister.

Graveside services will be on Saturday January 27, 2024, at 1:00 PM, in Glen Cove Cemetery in Knightstown, Indiana.  A funeral meal will follow at the Legion on Main Street in Greensburg, Indiana.

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