Editor's note: This obituary was submitted on behalf of the family of Donald Frank Thomas.
Donald Frank Thomas, 80, passed away on Jan. 16 at his home of 44 years in Huntington Beach. Don was born on Sept. 2, 1932 in Philadelphia, PA to Elmer and Edna Thomas.
Don grew up in Philadelphia. After high school he enlisted in the army and met Katherine Ada Ward, later to become his wife, while stationed in El Paso, Texas. After moving to California he graduated with a business degree from Cal State Long Beach. He spent nearly 50 years working in the aerospace industry at Mc Donnell Douglas and later at Boeing as a financial controller.
Don was a husband, father, grandfather, friend and most of all a man of integrity with a stubborn streak and a passion for learning and sharing that helped him live a long and full life. He taught himself how to paint, restore antique furniture and clocks and play the guitar.
He loved the outdoors and the ocean and after retiring spent most of his spare time volunteering as a naturalist, park ranger and interpreter for Orange County’s premier open spaces including Caspers Wilderness Park, Bolsa Chica, and the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. Don was also a founding board member of Friends of Harbors, Beaches, and Parks. He loved nature, loved kids, and was a overall great man.From cub scout and boy scout leader, to teaching the neighborhood kids how to body surf, to leading hikes and interpreting at parks, Don was, more than anything else, a teacher.
Don is survived by his sons Scott and Ward, their wives Cheryl and Tracy, his sister Lois Contino, grandchildren Lindsay, Ryan, Chad and McKenna, great-grandchildren Paige and Brook, nieces Valerie and Cindy and nephews Bruce and Donald. Don’s wife of 54 years, Kay Thomas, passed away in 2010.