Gary L. Thomas

Age 88, passed away on August 15, 2019. He was born on July 25, 1931, in Lansing, to Russell and Barbara Thomas.

Shortly after graduating from Lansing Eastern High School in 1949, he worked for The City of Lansing. He began working for the Lansing Fire Department in 1955 where he worked for 26 years. He was a member of Local 421 of the International Association of Fire Fighters and eventually served as President. Gary later served as President of the Michigan State Fire Fighters Union and State Representative of the I.A.A.F., as well as Financial Secretary and President of the Greater Lansing Labor Council. Throughout the years, he served as an executive board member with many charitable and service organizations.

Gary was a devoted Michigan State fan and served as President of the Downtown Coaches Club. He and his wife, Nancy, traveled often and split time living between Michigan and Florida. Of all his roles, Gary’s proudest was serving as Great Grandfather and was affectionately known as “Bampa.”

Gary was a man of many words who had a story to tell about his countless life experiences, to anyone he met. He was a humble hero with an infectious personality. His presence will be greatly missed by many, but his memory will fondly live in the hearts of those who got to share this great life with him.

Gary joins in Heaven: his parents, his brothers, Russell and Gilbert, sister, Thayer, and daughter, Julie. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Nancy, his daughter, Jan Thomas, granddaughter, Lacey (Miles) Jonassen, two great-granddaughters, Eloise and Ada, brother-in-law, Richard Hull, many nieces and nephews, very special friends Patty Farhat and Scott Tobey, and many Brothers & Sisters of Service.

There will be funeral service held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, August 24, 2019, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel with visitations on Friday, August 23rd from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., also at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association Boot Drive or the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

‘After while, Crocodile…’

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17 Messages to “Gary L. Thomas

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Marti Malone
August 16, 2019 at 3:35 pm

So sorry for your loss Nancy.

Jennifer Spencer
August 16, 2019 at 3:48 pm

Nancy. I’m very sorry for your loss of your husband. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

Larry and Billie McColl
August 16, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Nancy, Larry and I were so sorry to learn of your loss of Gary. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.

Juan Bradford
August 16, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Retired Sergeant Fire Chaplin of Inkster MICHIGAN local 1577.
The passing of Gary L. Thomas is received with a heavy heart. Thank God for his service to his community and all the many days of sacrifice of duty to his fellow firefighters and most of all my prayers to his beloved family, thank you for lending Gary to the brotherhood of the IAFF.
Much Love
Juan C. Bradford
Inkster Michigan

Harold A. Schaitberger
August 17, 2019 at 1:27 pm

Nancy I’m so sorry to hear about Gary’s passing. I know you’ve lost a lifetime partner and his IAFF family has lost a great longtime leader. I will always be grateful for Gary’s generosity and welcoming me, as a new State President, into the IAFF fold over 40 years ago. He was a gentleman, strong union advocate and one of Michigan’s finest. My deepest condolences to you, his personal and union families

Joseph A. Grutza
August 17, 2019 at 9:42 pm

Nancy, we are so sorry for your loss. Gary was a great union leader and taught me lessons that I never forgot. Always gracious, I will miss him.

Darrell and Jacky Tennis
August 18, 2019 at 8:54 am

We’re so sorry, Nancy. Gary was a good, even great man whose contributions to the IAFF and the people of Michigan will be fondly remembered. Darrell and I send our deepest condolences.

Nancy Sellers
August 19, 2019 at 3:21 pm

Knew Gary since Jr. High school, he was always friendly and a good person. Sorry of his passing, condolences to Nancy and family.

john greenslit
August 20, 2019 at 10:07 am

Thomas Family,
Please accept our deepest sympathy and condolences in the passing of Gary. We’ll miss his advice, comments and insight as the Spartans head into another football season. His loyalty and tenacity showed all of us his love for family, friends and community. He blessed our lives.
John and Pat Greenslit

Jimmy Amar
August 20, 2019 at 10:59 am

Nancy, needless to say I feel a great sadness for you and your family. I first met Gary as a graduate student when he appeared in a class I was taking in a Masters program at MSU. I looked forward to playing golf with him in the
Annual State AFL outing. He was a tremendous resource and unselfishly generous helping me deal with problems in my local. His stewardship serving as President Of The Michigan State Firefighters Union is a lasting Legacy. My sincere condolences

Stephen & Cheryl Parsell
August 20, 2019 at 2:15 pm

Nancy, we are so saddened to hear about your loss. Gary was a great leader and an all around great guy. Our thoughts & prayers are with you and your family.

Stephanie Brown
August 20, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Although I didn’t know Gary well, I was blessed to “know” him through my friend and colleague, Patty. I am grateful to have gotten to meet such a special person who truly touched so many lives. His presence lives on in those who loved him. God speed, my union brother.

Kim Farhat Ceballos
August 20, 2019 at 4:48 pm

Nancy, I’m so deeply sorry for your loss of Gary. I’m so glad I was able to visit with you both this summer. I’m truly devastated at this loss and it will not be the same visiting Michigan and my old neighborhood knowing I will not see him and his jovial self. I’m sending my love and prayers. Please know that I’m thinking of you.

Paul and Lesley Seldenright
August 20, 2019 at 7:49 pm

Dear sweet Nancy,
Paul and I have truly lost our greatest friend in the whole world and your wonderful husband. All of our love are with you and Gary’s family and we know he is now with the Lord.
May God be with you at this time. All of our love and prayers.
Paul and Lesley

Jean Leblanc
August 20, 2019 at 8:08 pm

Dear Nancy,
Our family and yours were joined 5 years ago when Lacey married Miles, I wish I would have got to know Gary better! But hearing Lacey speak of him and to see how he loved his family , especially his great granddaughters was a joy. Thinking of you and your many years together I send you peace and hope your memories carry you.
Love Jean Leblanc

Bill Parsons
August 23, 2019 at 12:17 pm

So sorry for your loss. It was always pleasant spending time with you and Gary. He will be missed. Prayers for you and family in this time of loss.

Tootie Johnson
August 24, 2019 at 9:22 am

Nancy, I’m so sorry for your loss. We always had such great time at our lunches. We will miss all of his stories from the past. He never forgot anything. Prayers for you and your family family at this difficult time.


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