Alfred D. Thomas, 89, passed away on July 23, at Glen Oaks Care Center in Urbandale. The memorial service with military rites, will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, followed by a gathering, at Grace United Methodist Church at 37th and Cottage Grove.
Alf was born on December 3, 1923 in Beloit, WI, son of Myrtle and Alex Thomas. His parents were officers in The Salvation Army and the family moved throughout the Midwest during his youth.
From 1943 to 1946, Alf served as an aviation machinist's mate in the U.S. Navy. His love of the water and sailing continued throughout his life, building his own sailboat which gave the family many wonderful memories from their summers on Long Lake in Minnesota. He also enjoyed building lake cabins with his friends.
Alf first attended Bradley University in Peoria, IL. After his service in the Navy he received a BFA and teaching certificate from Drake University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. Alf began his teaching career in Ankeny and went on to teach commercial art at Des Moines Technical High School for 30 years.
Alf was a highly talented artist who exhibited his work at the Des Moines Art Center, the Library of Congress, the Sioux City Art Center and the Iowa State Fair. He taught regularly at the Des Moines Art Center and was a member of Art Educators of Iowa. He received their award for "Distinguished Service Outside the Profession" for his work as the art curator at Grace Methodist. He sang in the church choir for many years. He bowled and played cribbage with colleagues from Tech. Alf had an engaging personality, delighting all who knew him with his subtle, quirky, and wry sense of humor.
On June 3, 1950, Alf and Mary Joyce Lind were married at Grace Methodist. Surviving is his wife, Mary Joyce and their three daughters Janalynn Thomas, Las Vegas, NV; Eileen Thomas, Brooklyn, NY; and Betsye Lee, Urbandale, IA; granddaughters, Tara Thompson and Jill Golding, Las Vegas, NV; Olivia Thomas, Brooklyn, NY and Jane Lee, Manhattan, NY; and his brother Jack (Lucy) Thomas of Des Plaines, IL; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings.
Memorial contributions can be sent to Iowa Hospice, Grace United Methodist Church, The Salvation Army, or the American Parkinson Disease Association.
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