Sterling Leroy Thomas
March 3, 1934 – August 6, 2018
Sterling Leroy Thomas was born March 3, 1934 in Richland, Iowa. At the age of 4 he moved to Ottumwa, Iowa where he graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1952. After graduation he had moved to Davenport, Iowa and then got a job at Hedy’s D.X. Service Station. In 1954, he married Betty Lucille Smith and they moved to Plymouth, Michigan where he worked for Reese Auto Dismantling. In 1955, he and Betty moved back to Ottumwa so he could resume work at Hedy’s. They moved to San Diego in 1957, where he began work for Rohr Aircraft in Chula Vista. In 1961 he purchased Atlantic Richfield Service Station on 25th & C St. in San Diego. Richfield was sold in 1963 and he purchased the Shell Station on 8th and Palm in National City, which he owned until 1965 when he purchased Rancho Hills Shell in Paradise Hills, California. In 1971 he sold Rancho Hills in order to purchase Alpine Shell, which he owned and operated until 1996. At the time of the sale of Alpine Shell, Sterling built Alpine Auto Repair on Alpine Blvd. He also owned and operated Grove Motel in Lemon Grove until his death.
In addition to his wife, Betty, Sterling is survived by 4 sons - Sterling Randal Thomas, Kelly Leroy Thomas, Kippy Allen Thomas and Darrin Shawn Thomas; 7 grandchildren – Kelly Waylon Thomas, Jessie Lee Thomas, Taylor Ann Thomas, Ryan Thomas, Karley Thomas, Macy Thomas and Kassidy Thomas. Sterling enjoyed monthly poker parties, riding motorcycles, desert racing, Little League, Pony League, his annual hunting trip, traveling in his motorhome, farming & gardening, flying and building model airplanes, atvs, camping and riding in Buttercup Desert, and trips to Laughlin and Las Vegas 3 or 4 times a year.
- Betty Thomas, Wife
- Randall Thomas, Son
- Kelly Thomas, Son
- Kippy Thomas, Son
- Darrin Thomas, Son
- Robyn Thomas, Daughter-in-law
- Dawn Thomas, Daughter-in-law
- Rhonda Thomas, Daughter-in-law
- Annabella Beghtol, Sister
- Donna Jean Hanshaw, Sister
- George Thomas, Brother
- Ann Thomas, Sister-in-law
- Donald Hanshaw, Brother-in-law
- Mr. Thomas also leaves several Grandchildren that love him very much.
- Funeral Service Thursday, August 9, 2018
- Graveside Service Thursday, August 9, 2018
Sterling Leroy Thomas
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August 9, 2018
I want to share how Sterling impacted my life.
God places people in our lives. I think I was gifted with knowing Sterling.
When I was 17 years old I met Kippy and his family. Sterling stood out as few men had. Little did I know that his actions would help mold me into the man, husband, father and person I am today.
By his actions, Sterling showed me that family comes first. He showed me how a husband should treat their wife. How there is no substitute for hard work.
I have been given a gift by the values he instilled in Kippy and his family. Sterling was one of those blessings that formed over 31 years. A lot of what I hoped to be is who Sterling was.
Betty your partnership with Sterling and the family you helped build is amazing and you all have touched my life.
God has beautiful plans for you to be with Sterling again someday.