Gregory John Thomas, 67, lifelong resident of the Belle area, passed away at his home, surrounded by family on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 after a 14 month battle with cancer.
Greg was born on February 3, 1949 to the late John and June Thomas. He was a 1967 graduate of Belle High School and a 1969 graduate of Linn Technical College with an associate's degree in automotive mechanics.
On October 11, 1969, Greg was united in marriage to Maxine Mittelhauser and to this union two sons were born.
Greg never met a stranger, could talk about a wide variety of topics, and loved to visit. He was especially grateful to his good friends who were frequent and faithful visitors during his illness.
He was always community minded and willing to donate his time whenever and wherever needed. Greg had been a projects leader with the Hawkeye 4-H Club in Belle, and was the club's first leader for country cured hams and also for shooting sports/shooting safety. He was a past President of the Belle/Bland Booster Club, and also served two terms on the Maries County R-2 School Board, including three years as Board President. It was during this time that Kingsford Charcoal petitioned the school district for a tax abatement. Greg was instrumental in the board decision that allowed the tax break, thus insuring the construction of Kingsford's new retort facility. He was currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Osage County Historical Society. Greg was of the Baptist faith and a former Sunday school teacher.
Greg was a hard worker who began his career at a very early age in his parent's service station. By the time he was 18 years old, he was managing and maintaining their fleet of school buses that was leased to the Belle School District. He performed all maintenance and repair work, hired the drivers, and even drove a bus himself. He always said that a school bus driver had one of the most unappreciated jobs ever created.
He also worked for the HVW Pump Factory in Jefferson City, Mo. until that plants closure. During that time, he worked as a machine setup operator and computer programmer, traveling to other plants, setting up machines and training the employees in how to use them. He spent extended time in Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Los Angeles, California. (His least favorite place in the world).
In 1979, Greg would begin farming full time in partnership with his wife's parents and brother. It was a long and successful partnership. Greg would survive each of them and he and Maxine would continue the farming operation with this year, 2016, being the 165th year of continuous family ownership. He was well suited for the job of being a farmer as he was mechanically gifted and could fix anything he ever encountered. Greg had built a reputation cow herd, which he took great pride in, and always went to great lengths to insure that they were well cared for. His favorite job on the farm was baling hay. He had always been good at it, but in the past year, it had become good for him. He had baled hay as recently as August 18.
Greg liked to hunt, fish, and hunt mushrooms. He was a student of history and a firearms enthusiast. He combined his love of both and could tell you the history of guns and gun makers. In reality though, most of his time was spent with his family, working on the farm, including checking cows and baling hay with his granddaughters by his side. You could say it was quality time.
Greg is survived by Maxine, his wife of 47 years. He is also survived by two sons, Jason Thomas and Jamie Thomas with his wife Jessica, and two granddaughters, Mason and Reagan Thomas, all of Belle. He is also survived by one brother, Sam Thomas of Belle, as well as many good friends.
Greg was preceded in death by, in his words, very special Father and Mother-in-Law, Roy and Dale Mittelhauser and a very special Brother-in-Law, Dewey Mittelhauser. He was also preceded in death by one brother, Gary Thomas.
It was Greg's wish to be cremated. A private graveside service will be held at a later date with burial in the Pilot Knob Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Goldschmidt Cancer Center's Patient Care Fund, which provides meals and energy supplements to patients during infusion treatments.
Arrangement are under the direction of Sassmann's Chapel in Belle (859-3712). www.sassmannschapel.com