Eugene and Ethel Thomas

Eugene F. “Gene” Thomas, 97, Rapid City and formerly of Murdo, passed away Tuesday, March 16, 2010, at a Rapid City nursing home.

Eugene was born Oct. 19, 1912, in rural Murdo to Ernest and Bertha (Green) Thomas. Eugene was united in marriage to Ethel Becker on April 8, 1944, in Murdo. Ethel passed away on Jan. 10, 2008.

Eugene’s life can be summed up by one sentence his wife of nearly 63 years wrote in a letter: “Thanks be to God for a life well-lived.” He was truly a jack of all trades with the patience and drive to conquer all that the South Dakota terrain and weather could send his way.

Eugene was a humble, selfless servant of God and a quiet hard-working simple man. A rancher, farmer, mechanic, planner, employer, example, community leader, farm finance manager, irrigation specialist, beekeeper, owner and foreman, work scheduler, teacher, excellent husband & father, and dear friend. He had the toughness to persevere, yet the gentleness, kindness, patience, strength, and generosity to earn the respect and love of all. Gene was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church in Murdo and a 32nd Degree Master Mason.

Survivors include three sons, Paul (Linda) Thomas, Murdo, Joseph (Susan) Thomas, St. Joseph, Mich., and Ralph (Kathy) Thomas, Minneapolis; four daughters, Gloria (William) Hasenwinkel, Klemme, Iowa, Kathleen (Wallace) Sorenson, Lake Preston, Diane (Wilbur) Marsh, Brookings, and Susan (Edwin) Egbert, Piedmont; 19 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren.



Ethel M. Thomas, 89, of Rapid City, passed away on Thurs., Jan. 10, 2008 at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Ethel was born on April 8, 1918 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Fred and Louisa (Lang) Becker. After high school, she received a BS degree in religious education from Schauffler College, Ohio in 1942. She then moved to South Dakota where she met and married Eugene Thomas at Murdo on her birthday in 1944. They lived on a ranch near Murdo and in town for many years, moving to Rapid City in November of 2005.

The most important things in Ethel's life were God, her mother, her husband, her family, visiting, reading and writing, singing and dancing. She also loved to watch public broadcasting.

She is survived by her husband, Eugene Thomas of Rapid City; seven children, Paul (Linda) Thomas of Murdo, Gloria (Bill) Hasenwinkel of Klemme, IA, Joe (Susie) Thomas of St. Joseph, MI, Ralph (Kathy) Thomas of Minneapolis, MN, Kathy (Wally) Sorenson of Lake Preston, Diane (Wilbur) Marsh of Brookings, Susan (Ed) Egbert of Piedmont; 19 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; three brothers, Alfred, Robert and Richard Becker; and two sisters, Virginia Bollinger and Gloria Prickett.

A memorial service is set for 7:00pm Sat., Jan. 12, 2008 at Somerset Court, 4001 Derby Lane in Rapid City, with the Rev. Bob Wall officiating. A second memorial service will be held at Murdo at a later date.

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