OBITUARY

Douglas William Thomas

May 1, 1946September 4, 2021
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Douglas William Thomas, age 75, died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s dementia on September 4, 2021 in Hastings, MI.

Doug is survived by his wife, Kathleen (Schafer), of Okemos, MI; his daughter, Heather (Jon) Lear, of Portland, MI; his daughter, Alison (Charlie) Dyess, of Holly Springs, NC; his brother, Larry (Vickie) Thomas, of Remus, MI; grandchildren, Gabriel and Madalynne Lear, Evangeline and Xavier Dyess; brothers-in-law, Gerald (Brenda) Schafer, of Cary, NC; Timothy Schafer of Bloomington, IL; Paul (Katie) Schafer, of Springfield, IL; and many loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Emma (Gardner) Thomas of Lansing, MI; his sister, Cathy Gousetis, of Lansing, MI; his sister-in-law, Mary Schafer Cichowski, of Wheaton, IL; and his former wife, Pamela (Cox) Thomas, of Lansing, MI.

Doug was born on May 1, 1946, in Lansing, MI, to parents Lawrence and Emma. He graduated from Everett High School in 1965 and studied Fire Science at Lansing Community College. Doug served in the U.S. Navy from 1966-1970 on the USS Spiegel Grove. After a brief stint at Oldsmobile, Doug enjoyed 25 years serving the citizens of Lansing as a firefighter, retiring at the rank of Captain in March of 1998. Those life-saving skills followed Doug into retirement, as evidenced by his timely use of the Heimlich maneuver to rescue a gentleman who was choking in a local restaurant.

Doug was a great family man and a loving father. His marriage in 1968 to Pamela (Cox) blessed them with a beautiful daughter, Heather Lynne, whom he adored. His subsequent marriage in 1996 to his “soul-mate” Kathleen (Schafer) gave him further opportunity to love and mentor another daughter, Alison (Forbes), through the teenage years and beyond. His daughters’ eventual marriages to Jon (Lear) and Charlie (Dyess) blessed him with the sons he never had. But the absolute delight of his life were his adoring grandchildren, Gabriel, Maddie, Eva and Xavier (X-man.) He relished every opportunity to tease them as only a grandpa could.

Doug was an extremely social, charming man who could strike up a conversation with a total stranger, and often did. He was equally quick with a kind word or a bitingly witty retort. Doug loved the outdoors and was especially fond of spending time in Michigan’s north woods, camping, swimming, boating, biking, hunting, and fishing. Lake Charlevoix, where he vacationed at Young State Park with family throughout his life, held a special place in his heart. He cherished the many hours he spent with his younger brother, Larry, in deer blinds, tubing on the Muskegon River and fishing Michigan’s many lakes and streams. He loved to travel; Doug and Kathy took many road trips together and especially enjoyed their adventures in Key West, FL. His family and friends will always remember him as a kind, fun-loving, gentle soul.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, September 18 at 2 p.m. with visitation at 1 p.m., at Gorsline Runciman, 900 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Doug’s life. The family would like to thank the amazing staff at Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital in Hastings, MI for their compassionate care during Doug’s last days. Special thanks to Angie and Donnie Lewis, Tom Gousetis, Patti Johnson and Holly Godbey who were there to comfort and support Doug’s wife and daughter. Donations can be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association, the Fat Ass 5K & Street Party for Charity, the City Rescue Mission of Lansing or a charity of your choosing.

The family invites those who can't make the service in-person to watch a live broadcast of the service at the following link, https://webcast.funeralvue.com/events/viewer/60582

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.grlansing.com for the Thomas family.

Services

  • Memorial Visitation

    Saturday, September 18, 2021

  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, September 18, 2021

Memories

Douglas William Thomas

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Phillip Thomas

September 12, 2021

Doug, I've lost track of many L.F.D. friends and sadly, you were one of them. I'll give your favorite campsite at Young State Park a nod next summer and think of the campfires shared. RIP Bud, we had many laughs through the years and I was lucky to know you.

Diane and I would like to express our condolences to Heather, Kathy and the rest of the family.

John STAFFORD

September 12, 2021

So sorry to hear this. Doug was a great guy to work with while at the Lansing Fire Department. One of the good guys.

Linda Beuerle

September 10, 2021

Doug, you were amazing and will be sorely missed. RIP and enjoy your reunions in Heaven with those you loved so much. Kathy, if a friend can help, please call on me.

Jon Lear

September 10, 2021

Doug,
Miss you already, thank you for being you. You were kind, gentle and caring. Even in my worst of times you always had a kind word and a smile for me.
Although you always rooted for the wrong team, I’m going to miss our yearly football game rivalry almost as much as I will miss the March madness, madness. I will miss our games of sequence, you and I against Kathy and Heather. I was the one to tick them both off so much, at times, I feared for my life. You calmed the waters with a laugh, a joke and a sideways glance to let me know when to shut up. Most of all I think I will miss the summer grill sessions in the backyard. You in the chair with a bud light giving me advice that always resulted in the “perfect” steak.
I see your smile in Madalynne, I see your sensitivity in Gabriel and I see your love in Heather.
I couldn’t have asked for a better father-in-law.
Rest easy Pops

Heather Lear

September 10, 2021

Dad, I was blessed to have such a loving, supportive and understanding father. I have so many wonderful memories of my childhood and adulthood with you. No matter what was going on or what I did I always knew you were there for me. You had such a gentle approach with me when I was a child and teen. As an adult you still had the gentle approach but knew when to add “gentle persuasion” when I needed a push in the right direction. I have missed our weekends having you over. I look at the backsplash that you helped me with and think of us putting that up together. Our last Father/Daughter project. I love you Daddy! Say hello to Mom for me.

FROM THE FAMILY
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Christmas at Knob Hill

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FROM THE FAMILY

Doug and baby Maddie

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
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Christmas at Knob Hill

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Doug and baby Maddie

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Soulmates!

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Heather & Jon at Holly & Dave's