Richard Orem Thomas Jr., age 71, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 7, 2018 at the VA Community Living Center in Orlando, FL after an extended stay there and at the VA Medical Center. He was surrounded daily by his loving family and many friends.
Richard was born on August 26, 1946 in Richmond, Indiana to parents Richard Orem Thomas Sr. and Betty (Hopkins) Thomas.
He loved spending time with family and friends and his wit and sarcasm kept everyone on their toes. He made friends wherever he went and was very generous and treated people with a sincere appreciation for their efforts, whether personally or professionally.
He was a jack of all trades and was able to build things and took great strides to educate himself in various areas of interest. He began his career in the U.S. Navy where he spent two tours in Vietnam with the US Naval Construction Battalion, better known as the Seabees. He worked in the construction industry and successfully owned and operated Thomas Drywall for many years. His motto was "Only the Best" and he meant it. He continued on in different aspects of construction and was very aptly placed in a superintendent position in his final job with Merritt Contracting.
His hobbies were fishing, gardening and cheering on the Florida Gators. He loved to be on or near the water and had many pictures to prove he caught "the big one". His love of gardening came later in life and he educated himself in all aspects and even built very elaborate raised beds with an automatic watering system. Not a surprise since he liked things done right. He and Sharon spent many hours tending to his prized fruits and veggies and took great pride in his harvests. His other true love... the Florida Gators! He knew everything there was to know about the teams, coaches, players and stats throughout the years. He had an entire wardrobe of Gator attire and even a Gator tattoo that although it was generally covered due to it's location, likely many of his friends have seen. He went by many names given to him by his family but most of his friends knew him as Big Dick. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grand father, brother, and friend. He was always supportive of those he loved, travelling many miles just for a meal, or a grandparent's day or a soccer game.
His absence will be deeply felt by all who had the pleasure of knowing and loving him. Hearrrd That!
He is survived by his loving wife Sharon Marie Thomas; daughters Tammy Shaver, Elizabeth Thomas, Rebecca Thomas-Ghent, Dawn Blauvelt, and Candice Young; grandchildren Miranda Hinson, Katherine Thomas, Starr Shaver, Haven Shaver, Marlon Mauro, and Ty Thomas-Yuhas; his great-grandchildren Liam Hinson and Cora Hinson; and a great number of friends.
A memorial service for Richard will be held at 6:00 PM on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at Newcomer Cremations, Funerals, & Receptions - South Seminole Chapel, 335 E. SR 434, Longwood, Florida 32750. Following the memorial service, the family invites everyone to join them for a reception at one of Richard and Sharon's favorite restaurants, Colorado's Prime Steak, 3863 S Orlando Dr, Sanford, FL 32773.
A memorial contribution website has also been created for individuals who wish to make donations to Richard's family for his funeral arrangements.
Please find more information at: https://www.gofundme.com/passing-of-richard-thomas