04/30/1923 – 05/13/2020
Obituary for Ralph Thomas
Ralph Rollie Thomas, 97, of Sedalia passed away Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at The Missouri Veterans Home, Warrensburg, MO. He was born on April 30, 1923 in Pettis County, the son of Rollie James and Bessie Elizabeth (Brownfield) Thomas, who preceded him in death.
Ralph was born and spent his entire life on the farm. He went to Smith-Cotton his junior year, so he could play football and graduated in 1941.
He served his country proudly during WWII. He always said that upon hearing a train whistle while working with his father one day he felt like it was calling him to do his part to help win the war. On December 1, 1942 he joined the US Navy serving on the sub tender ships USS Denebola and the USS Apollo first in the Atlantic theater then moving to the Pacific. His rank was Electricians Mate 1st Class being discharged on February 5, 1946.
He bought the family farm from his father in 1947 and on March 13, 1948 he married Darlene Oehrke at The Smithton Methodist Church. Together they raised 4 boys and were married for over 72 years.
He always said that the hogs paid for the farm. He also had a Grade-A dairy herd and milked for 42 years. For a few years, he raised Reeds Yellow Dent seed corn and after the dairy he ran a beef herd until 2009. He lived and breathed farming and was the quintessential farmer. Mornings always started before dawn and often ended late into the night year around, rain or shine. He loved bailing hay with the sweet smell of the cut grass, working with the family and friends helping him, and the clean look of the fields afterward.
When he “started” to slow down he began hunting. Every Spring and Fall Roy and Dave from Oklahoma would come to hunt with him. They had many great adventures together and he loved talking about them.
Ralph served on the Smithton school board for 9 years, and as President for 4 years. He also served on the Farmers Mutual Insurance board as Vice President.
He loved to go square dancing where he also enjoyed being the caller. He also enjoyed playing cards and watching sports on TV.
Ralph did not know a stranger, he always stopped to speak and shake hands with people. When he would ride in the car, he would always wave when he met someone on the road.
He truly loved God and his church. He served as deacon for over 60 years and taught Sunday school for high school boys for many years. He was a member of New Hope Baptist Church.
Besides his wife, Darlene, he is survived by sons, Karis (Mary Ann) Thomas, Dwayne (Tina) Thomas all of Sedalia, and Chris Thomas (Joseph McKee) of Altadena, CA; daughter-in-law Melanie of Kearney; five grandchildren, Erin Thomas, Teasha (Victor) Vargas, Zac (Jodi) Thomas, Brett Thomas, Trenton (Tera) Thomas; six great grandchildren, Kyra, Evan, Reece, Tucker, Laven and Abby Mae; sister, Lucille Davis; two brothers, Otis (Lois) and Zeb (Velmar) Thomas of Sedalia; and many nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by four sisters, Grace Bremer, Melva Ruth Campbell, Bernice Mosley and Barbara Ann Rayl; son Rodney Thomas and a loving granddaughter, Mandy Marie Thomas.
Friends may sign the guest book at Rea Funeral Chapel on Monday, May 18, 2020 after 8:00 a.m.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
The family suggests memorial contributions to The Missouri Veterans Home, Warrensburg, MO in care of Rea Funeral Chapel.
Photos & Video
Add New Photos & Video
Leave a message to share your favorite memories and offer words of sympathy and comfort:
To leave a condolence message, add photos, or add videos, please provide your name and email address.