Darrel Thomas

Obituary of Darrel Allen Thomas

Darrel Allen Thomas August 5, 1940 - December 7, 2023

Darrel Allen Thomas was born in Coldwater, Kansas on August 5, 1940 to Harley and Alberta Thomas. He grew up on a rural farm near Protection, Kansas with his parents and older sister, Nylene (Thomas) Reitz.

As a child, he developed a love of TV. At that time, TV in the southwest of Kansas was more snow than picture. When he was a junior in high school he completed a radio and telecommunications correspondence course which was a point of pride for him throughout his lifetime.

Darrel met Darlene Kay Dewey at Kansas State University, both working in the women’s dorm cafeteria. They were married in Delphos, Kansas on Christmas Eve in 1962 during a blizzard. They were married at two o’clock in the afternoon because that was the perfect time for farm families to attend and still get home in time to milk their cows.

Darrel graduated with a college degree in Physics from Pittsburg State University. Darlene taught school in Chetopa, Kansas during that time.

He served in the United States Navy from 1966 – 1969. He attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island in the summers of 1965 and 1966 and was commissioned as an Ensign. After graduation he was assigned to teach at the basic propulsion and engineering school at Great Lakes Naval Base in Illinois. When he was discharged, he had the rank of Lieutenant. He was forever grateful for his military service and the opportunities it gave him in life. They had two children, David and Debbie, while still in Great Lakes.

After leaving the Navy, Darrel began what would become a 30-year career in the telephone industry at the cutting edge of technology – from Southwest Bell, Mountain Bell, and then retiring from US West. He was always an early adopter, whether it was getting the first color TV or the latest iPhone.

While the family lived in several Midwest states – Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri – Darrel’s dream was to live in “God’s country” aka Arizona. In 1979, they moved to their home in Glendale, Arizona with two acres and a pool near a large extended family. Holidays were filled with family and fond memories. For many years, they also enjoyed a cabin that backed up to the national forest in Pinewood before they eventually bought property in Colorado to be close to their daughter, Debbie (Thomas) Brown, and her growing family.

After retiring, Darrel and Darlene became avid world travelers and enjoyed many cruises, national parks, bus trips and time with both sets of grandchildren.

Darrel and Darlene were always very active in their local church, and Darrel served as a deacon and bible study teacher at North Phoenix Baptist Church and then West Greenway Baptist Church. In Denver, Darrel and Darlene attended Greenwood Community Church where they helped start the Over the Hill Gang specifically for fellowship among seniors, and Darrel was particularly fond of his friendships later in life with his Faith and Science group.

He will be remembered for his love of God, devotion to his family, fondness for electronics, movies, and genealogy. He never let an opportunity pass him by to spend quality time with his family.

Darrel is survived by his wife of almost 61 years, Darlene Thomas; son, David Thomas and his wife Jadie; daughter, Debbie Brown; and 5 grandchildren: Sarah, Amy and Trevor Brown; and Torin and Parker Thomas.

Share Your Memory of