Richard W. Thomas

Born: Monday, January 13, 1936
Passed: Friday, December 28, 2018

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Richard "Dick" Wills Thomas, 82, died early Friday morning, Jan. 28, 2018 at Loyola Hospital from a fall at home. Richard was born on January 13, 1936, in Rockford, IL, the son of James Harold Thomas and Katherine (Rew) Thomas of Rockford. He graduated from East High School in 1954. He was an Eagle Scout and after serving in the Navy from 1954-1956 he graduated from Augustana College with a Master's Degree, in Moline.

He retired from teaching Biology at local Worth, IL area high schools, He was a great nature supporter and volunteered several years at Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights, IL.
No visitation.

Grave side services will be held at a later date in Cedar Bluff Cemetery, Rockford, IL. Memorials to Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights, IL 60463.

Condolences & Shared Memories (11)

  1. Dick Riner

    Met Dick Thomas in 1984. We were both still teaching before we were put out to pasture. We attended an environmental workshop at Hope College together. Crossed paths with him twenty years later at Bartel Grassland, where he worked so many hours that I often asked him if he was the real Dick Riner! He was a dedicated volunteer !

  2. EUGENE Bradley

    It was my pleasure to meet Dick at Dunkin Donuts every day and talk about anything from A to Z. He had a great mind but it didn't go to waist ( only the donuts ). We shared many little stories over the past few years until I returned to my homeland Ireland.we still kept in touch through FaceTime when my friend Liam was with him. He had a great smile and he liked a good joke . We all miss him🇺🇸🇮🇪☘️

  3. Jeanne Stacey, Orland Grassland Volunteer

    Dick Thomas was a friend to Orland Grassland, volunteering his time for habitat rescue and participating in our community events: Orland Grassland Grand Birding Event (OGGBE), Welcome Back Bobolinks, Autumn on the Grassland and Summer's End. Dick had attended many OGV work days and quarterly meetings, and some of the seed cleaning nights, too. It was a pleasure to run into Dick at the Wild Things Conferences in Chicago; despite his knee troubles, he would attend and walk to all his sessions. I always laughed when he said Orland Grassland was third on his priority list of volunteering - after Lake Katherine and Will County! Orland Grassland might have been "third", but that didn't stop Dick from wholeheartedly giving a helping hand at work days and participating at our events. He will be missed.

  4. michael o'brien

    For all the hours we worked together all over Will County, Dick was a fine friend and not too far away neighbor. Me living in Summit, just a few miles down Harlem. My daughters always enjoyed being with us when they were able to make it out to our days working and then out to lunch. Their sympathies are also extended. RIP Mad Dog, my prayers, thoughts and candles are with you now.

  5. Terry Horvath

    So sorry for the loss of this gentle soul. At Lake Katherine he always had kind words and smiles for the staff and many visitors. He has left an indelible mark on LK.

  6. Paul Schroeder

    Fair winds and smooth seas my friend.

  7. Judy (Konopasek) Buckman & Family

    Mr. Thomas, or Dick as he was known to us, was a great Biology/Science teacher at Reavis High School, a superb Science Club sponsor & mentor, but most importantly, a wonderful friend to us all. Beginning in the mid 1960's, our families spent time together with Dick either visiting, spelunking, or taking part in various outdoor adventures & travels. Dick was always an enthusiastic participant and leader, always "up" for a challenge. He will be sorely missed. Our love and sympathy to his family & other friends. The world was a better place with him in it. May his soul rest peacefully.

  8. Jan Gonzales

    My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dick Thomas. He was such a wealth of knowledge and so willing to share it with everyone. I'm grateful to have known and worked with him.

  9. Liam Flynn

    Thank you Dick for truly being a great friend. Thank you for sharing many of your life stories and sharing yourself on a trip of a lifetime out west ! You will be missed at the "office". I know I will be a better person for having known you. I hope you had safe travel and saw plenty of those clouds on your way up to heaven!

  10. Dawn Chausse

    Richard “Dick” Thomas - our paths crossed unexpectedly but am so happy they did! You touched the lives of many with your knowledge and love of the work you did ! Thanks for being a part of my life.

  11. Peter Thomas

    Dick spent many summers as a Park Ranger at Glacier National Park and later other places. He spoke of these places like his own backyard. Dick was always the role model in scouting as the first Eagle Scout many of us would know.

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