John Charles Thomas (also known as Grandpa John) was welcomed into the kingdom of Heaven on February 26, 2023. He was born in Minot, North Dakota on January 11, 1946 and was the fifth of six children born to Dorothy and Wendelin Thomas. John graduated from Bishop Ryan High School in Minot, North Dakota. He joined the United States Army as a combat medic with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War (June 1966 to December 1967).
John married the love of his life Joanne Benecke on June 15, 1968. Their marriage was blessed with 5 children, 25 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren. During their lifetime together, they lived in Minot, North Dakota and Meridian, Idaho. Upon their retirement, they enjoyed traveling, visiting family, golfing, volunteering and being on the beach. John faithfully cared for Joanne throughout her battle with cancer. Following Joanne’s passing in 2018, he often wrote letters and shared with his family about his love for Joanne and her love of God and family.
While his primary employment was with the Burlington Northern Railroad, John was also a skilled craftsman who used his talents to serve others. He had a knack for problem-solving and loved to take on projects. He was generous with his gifts and his work can be seen in many homes and hearts throughout the United States.
John genuinely loved people and found great joy in the laughter and happiness of others. He was an entertainer, story teller, mentor, advisor, and role model. John prioritized family and established personal relationships with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He was diligent in his faith and a witness to the compassion, forgiveness and redemptive power of Jesus Christ.
He is survived by his children: Kris (Chuck), John (Patty), Heather (Grant), Nicki (Robert), and Michael (Susan); grandchildren: Alesha (Jesse), Amanda, Rebecca, Emma, Ava, Taylor (Gaant), Tori, Shea (Joel), Nolan, Samantha, Jadyn, Challis, Luke, Carli, Brady, Jacob, Seth, Brianna, Jessica, Savannah, Rylee, Ryan, Sophie, Chloe, and Tristan; great-grandchildren: Bella, Caleb, Rylan, Braylee, Elma, Asher, Tatum, Bexlee, and Elvira; sisters: Rosie, Mary, and Lois; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and in-laws. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Joanne; parents; brother, Jerome; sister, Marty; sister in-law, Judy; brothers in-law: Gene Benecke, Dan Fuehring, Bill Benecke, and Jim Workman; and granddaughter Gabrielle Boyko.
The funeral mass will be held on March 13, 2023, 10:00 A.M. at Risen Christ Catholic Church in Boise, Idaho. There will be a light reception following the mass.
Military Honors Ceremony will take place on March 13, 2023, 1:00 P.M., at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of John to the Women’s and Children’s Alliance of Boise at http://www.wcaboise.org.