Rick Thomas, 75, of Kenosha passed away on Sunday, March 26, 2017, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Kenosha on December 18, 1941, he was the son of the late George and Sally (Krueger) Thomas. A lifelong Kenosha resident, Rick grew up in south Kenosha County and graduated from Salem Central High School, class of 1959. He was named MVP as a senior running back on the football team and was a sprinter on the track team.
Rick met Gloria Jean Dagon while at Central HS and the two married on January 7, 1961. They recently celebrated their 56th anniversary.
After high school, Rick continued an active sports life playing semi-professional football for the Racine Raiders, basketball for several city league teams, and competitive fast pitch softball, into his forties, for several teams, including Globe Fisheries, Burger Chef and Kenosha Tire.
Rick was a City of Kenosha firefighter for almost 35 years. He was named Outstanding Young Firefighter of the Year in the 1970s, after saving a young boy from a house fire. Rick was appointed Fire Chief of Kenosha in March 1991, and proudly served until his retirement in December 1999.
More than anything else, he enjoyed family and competition – family card games, family fantasy football leagues, family PlayStation competition, watching his children and grandchildren play sports, and providing taxi service to everyone in his family. He was also an avid fan of the Packers and Cubs, although he loved to point out that the MLB strike soured him on professional baseball. Fortunately, he raised his kids right…as Cubs fans, so they could enjoy the first Cubs World Series victory in 108 years and call to celebrate and thank him.
Rick’s alone time usually involved fishing and more fishing– bass fishing, fishing trips to Canada, fly-fishing in Colorado, and more bass fishing. He was an active member of the Kenosha Fishing Group for more than a decade and loved taking his kids and grandkids on his boat to Kenosha County’s many lakes.
Rick is survived by his wife, Gloria, of Kenosha; sister-in-law Maureen Thomas, Pleasant Prairie; five children, Jeff (Lori) Thomas of Highlands Ranch, CO; Lisa (Scott) Gosnell of Alpine, CA; Tracy Thomas of Kenosha; Jacki (Chad) Zielinski of Pleasant Prairie; and Robyn (Ed) Ferraton of Kenosha; 11 grandchildren; and one great granddaughter.
Rick was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Lloyd (Marilyn) and Tommy (Maureen); and an infant son at birth, Richard John.
If you knew Rick, please join the family for a “Celebration of Life” on Thursday, March 30 from 6-9 pm at The Boathouse (4917 7th Avenue). All are invited to attend to greet family and friends.
Funeral services, where the Kenosha Fire Department Honor Guard will pay tribute to their former chief, will take place on Friday March 31st 2017 at 10:00 AM at First Presbyterian Church in Kenosha (1803-83rd Street).
Visitation will take place on Friday at the church from 9:00AM until the time of service.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider memorial remembrances to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.