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Larry Jay Thomas was born on April 15, 1943, in Ogden, Utah, to June Cherry and John Marion Thomas. He spent his childhood in Ogden where he discovered his love of the outdoors while roaming the Weber and Ogden canyons. Larry was the 4th Grade Ogden City Marble Champion, and his classmates refused to play marbles with him because he’d already won their marble collections. Larry also became proficient at several yoyo tricks, and on one occasion he broke his mother’s glasses practicing around-the-world’ - glasses that she was wearing at the time. At the age of 13, he attended the National Jamboree in New York City. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and received his Silver Beaver award. He attended Ben Lomond High School where he served as the student body Vice President. Larry enjoyed sports and was a talented athlete, lettering in four: basketball, track, football, and baseball. He was an All-Star baseball player and was scouted for a minor league team in Arizona.
Larry started dating Peggy Poulsen in the 9th grade. Their first date consisted of Larry walking her home from school – in complete silence – because they were both too shy to talk. At 15, Larry was allowed to pick up Peggy in the family station wagon for dates to get 19 cent french fries at Combe’s Drive Inn, and ice cream cones from Farr’s Ice Cream in Ogden. Their relationship continued through high school, and at the age of 17,during Christmas break of their senior year, they were married in the front room of Peggy’s house on December 29, 1960. They were later sealed in the Logan, Utah Temple on March 17, 1971. They remained devoted and supporting companions to each other, and recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.
Larry was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in various church leadership capacities over the years, including Bishop of the Enumclaw Ward, Bishop of the Enumclaw 2nd Ward, Counselor in the Stake Presidency of the Auburn Stake, Stake President of the Auburn and Maple Valley Stakes, and as a Temple Sealer in the Seattle Temple.
Larry fit his church service around his hunting and fishing schedule (his true passions). He successfully hunted nearly every big game animal in North America, as evidenced by the taxidermy museum at his Enumclaw and Montana residences. Fishing was a lifelong pursuit that began as a boy hiking through the Uintas, fishing every lake and river, to annual trips to Alaska where he fished all four salmon species and native fish. His hunting and fishing expeditions included everything from wild boars to tiger sharks and almost everything in-between.
Larry loved his family and included his kids in all his adventures, including hunting, fishing, cattle ranching, and ductwork. His kids cherished the time they were able to spend with him, and always wanted to work and play right alongside him. His children often wondered if he was pushing the boundaries of child labor laws, and claimed that they didn’t grow up with toys to play with, only tools.
Larry was as determined in his professional career as he was with his hobbies. Following high school graduation in 1961, he began sweeping floors for Superior Air Handling, an Ogden-based HVAC company. He started in the apprenticeship program, and within 6 months he challenged and passed the test to become a Journeyman. By the age of 26, he began running large projects and developed a clean-air filter system for Fred Hutchison and Swedish Hospitals in Seattle. He later became the Vice President of Superior Air Handling. In 1989, Superior sold, and Larry retired two years later in 1991, at age 48. In 1994, Larry started his own HVAC company, Delta Technologies Corporation, and retired for a second time in 2010. Delta just celebrated its 30 year anniversary.
Larry had several side ventures that he started as a means to support his hobbies. One business venture was the LJ Thomas Trucking & Cattle Co., which was started for the sole purpose of making enough money to buy himself a pair of cowboy boots. He hauled hay from Eastern Washington on the weekends to save money to feed church cattle, and hauled steel billets from Kent to West Seattle on the weekday nights. He soon realized there weren't enough hours in the day to keep a full-time trucking company and a day job – and he already had his pair of boots!
Following his professional career, Larry finally had the opportunity to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a real cowboy. He purchased a ranch in Cascade, Montana, and loved to spend as much time there as possible. Larry lived his best life on the back of a horse, herding black angus cattle and checking fences.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents, June Cherry and John Marion Thomas. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Poulsen Thomas and his five children, Mark (Lorri), Darin (Gary), Lance (Kelli), Corinne, Kyle (Kari), 17 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, siblings John Thomas, Darwin Thomas, Scott Thomas, and half-sister Carol LaDam Bennion. Larry passed away on January 23, 2024, at age 80, at his home in Enumclaw, Washington. Larry lived every moment to its fullest, always serving and influencing others for good in every aspect of his life.
A viewing will be held on Sunday, January 28th, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Weeks Funeral Home, 451 Cemetery Road, Buckley, Washington. A funeral service will be held the following day on Monday, January 29th, at 10:00 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 246 Semanski Street, Enumclaw, Washington. A brief graveside service and interment will take place at Hillside Cemetery in Cascade, Montana on Friday, February 2nd at 11:00 a.m.
Larry’s funeral services will be available via zoom, please see the link below.