George Rees Thomas, age 95 of Perham, MN died peacefully with his loving wife at his side on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 in Perham Living. Visitation will be held on Sunday, February 21 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. with parish prayers at 7:00 p.m. at Schoeneberger Funeral Home. Visitation will resume on Monday, February 22 beginning at 10:30 a.m. followed by the funeral Mass at 11:30 a.m. at St. Henry's Catholic Church in Perham. Father Matthew Kuhn will officiate. Burial will be held in Calvary Memorial Cemetery near Perham in the spring.
George was born at home on December 2, 1920 the son of George Arvilla and Elva Mary (Rees) Thomas in Marshalltown, IA. George's parents divorced in 1925 and later Elva married Cleve Wardman in Saskatchewan, Canada. The family moved to Saskatchewan around 1925 and then in 1936 they moved to Lake Minnetonka, MN. George worked for a truck farmer for about a year then worked for a dude ranch breaking horses for $5 a head. George did sheet metal work for a while in Robbinsdale, MN and also did yardwork for the Nash coffee family. In late 1938, George joined the CCC and went to northern Minnesota to plant trees and clear areas of woods. He met Vivian Klingelhut in Excelsior, MN while home on leave from CCC in late 1938. George left the CCC in 1939 with an honorable discharge and married Vivian on May 30, 1939. Together they had four children, Daniel, George, James and Linda. The family lived in Bloomington until 1942 when George went into the MN State Guard pulling guard duty near Two Harbors and Duluth. George worked at the ore docks and specifically the Thompson Dam which provided electricity to the Iron Range. He joined the Army in late 1942 and was honorably discharged in 1945 from the Paratroops 82nd Airborne. He came home and in 1946 George worked with George Sr. for a year in Cedar Rapids, IA. George returned in 1947 to Bloomington and worked in a cement block factory until 1948. Following that, George farmed until 1952 returning to Cedar Rapids, IA working in a sheet metal factory until 1956. Then, George and a friend bought ACME Oil Burner Company and worked at that business until 1960. He then moved to Burnsville, MN and worked at Alloy Hardening & Engineering as a foreman and later vice-president of the company for 17 years. In 1977, George and Vivian were divorced and George moved to Little Pine Lake near Perham. George was united in marriage to Joan Hannula on September 12, 1977. Joan died on November 9, 2002. George started Little Pine Machine Shop in 1977 and sold the business in 1984. He retired for eight years spending his winters in Florida. In 1992, George started PRD and retired from there in 2002. He married Katherine Rasmussen on January 30, 2004. Together they spent winters in Yuma, AZ.
George liked to sing and dance, and enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing and cigars. He was a gentle, kind man. Blessed be his memory.
George is survived by his wife, Kathy; his children, Daniel, George Jr. (Betty), James (Wendy) and Linda (Gerry); stepchildren, Katie (Richard Cole) Rasmussen, Vicki (Greg) Nelson and Bill (Angela) Rasmussen; 15 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
Preceding George in death were his parents; his wife, Joan; five brothers; two sisters; and one grandchild, Eithan Rasmussen.
George's memorial folder