James Edwin Thomas passed away September 4, 2020. He was born near Pampa, Texas on January 2, 1928. He was the first child of Charles Edwin Thomas and Alta Mae Thomas. During his time as a child and young man, he lived in many different oil fields throughout Texas and Oklahoma but primarily lived in a Pure Oil Camp outside Madill, Okla.
James graduated from Madill High School in 1944 and was drafted into the Army at age 18 where he served in occupied Japan. After his discharge from the Army, he joined the Air Force reserves. During the Korean war, he was called up by the Air Force to work as a teletype technician at Francis E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne Wyo. for one year. After his release from the Air Force, he worked in various oil fields in Oklahoma and Texas and attended the University of Oklahoma (OU) off and on during this time.
James married Peggy Jo Todd from Borger, Texas on July 20, 1952. While working to support his family, he attended OU off and on while working for Pure Oil Company from July, 1952 to December, 1960 when he graduated with a Petroleum Engineering degree. After graduating, he went back to work for Pure Oil company in Moab, Utah and was transferred in 1963 to Lafayette, Louisiana to conduct offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
After one year in the GOM, he resigned from Pure Oil Company and went to work for Skelly Oil Company in Duncan and later Velma, Okla. In 1967, he was badly burned in a gas explosion outside Velma and spent three months in an isolation room in St. Anthony’s hospital in OKC recovering from 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body. After being released from the hospital, he took a month of sick leave then resumed working. He transferred to the Skelly Oklahoma City office in 1971 but lived in Norman, Oklahoma. In 1974 he left Skelly and went to work for Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) in Anadarko, Okla. as Manager of Natural Gas fuel supplies. He retired from WFEC in 1983.
Not being capable of “retiring”, he operated a gas booster station in Cement, Okla. for Bolin Oil Co. for several years. He was a handy man for everyone he knew as well as family. He loved to invent things that would make something easier to do. He was always tinkering with some idea and used many of them during his life.
He is survived by his spouse Peggy Jo Thomas, children Raymond L. Thomas, James M. Thomas, June Regnier, and by his sister Loretta Long and her spouse John Long and his sister-in-law Dorothy Thomas. He was preceded in death by two of his younger brothers, Harry and Raymond Thomas and his son Kenneth C Thomas.
The family requests you do not send flowers but instead donate to James favorite foundation below (see link).
A “Celebration of Life” service will be held at Primrose Funeral home at 1109 North Porter Ave, Norman, Okla. 73071 on Sept 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. with Pastor Mark Robinson presiding. Family visitation will follow immediately after the service.