Husband, father, father- in-law, grandpa, papa, great-grandpa, uncle and friend, Myles J. Thomas “Jack” passed away Friday, April 26, 2019, at the age of 88. He was surrounded by his loving family.
Jack was born on Sept. 22, 1930, to Myles and Virginia Campbell Thomas. He graduated from Helena High School in 1948, and then he started college at DePauw University. He later transferred to the University of Montana, where he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity; he found his lifelong friends and brothers there. During his junior year of Law School at the University, he met the love of his life, Alice Lee Hodges “DeeDee,” as he moved her and his younger sister into the dormitory. They eloped in Missoula on May 29, 1954, which was about 10 days before his graduation and admission to the bar. In September 1954, he reported for duty in the United States Navy as an Ensign for two years of active duty on the USS Manchester. Upon his release from the Navy, he continued his education in Law at New York University, where he received his master’s in Taxation. After graduating, Jack and DeeDee moved back to Montana and made their home in Billings on Clark Avenue, where they raised their five children and countless others.
In 1957, he joined the law firm of Coleman, Lamey and Crowley, known today as Crowley Fleck. This launched a career that spanned over 50 years. To Jack, clients weren’t just clients — they were friends. Coworkers were not just coworkers — they were family. In addition to practicing law, Jack never knew how to say “no.” He was actively involved in the community, serving on various boards and committees, including the YMCA, where he was a member of the National Board YMCA of the USA, Past Exalted Ruler of the Billings Elks, St. Patrick’s Parish Council, and many other clubs and service organizations, such as Rotary.
Jack’s many hobbies included skiing, working out every morning (a.k.a. coffee club), taking long road trips with his family while making sure there was a history lesson included, tending his roses in the back yard, and playing golf at the Hilands Golf Club, where his family has been members at for over 50 years.
He was preceded in death by his son, Mike.
This amazing man is survived by his beautiful love of his life of 65 years, DeeDee; his children, Mark (Carol) Thomas, Matt Thomas, Shelly (Kyle) Kite, Susie (Steve) Cranston and Bonnie (Jim) Mountain; his grandchildren, Andrew (Sara) , Steven ( Angie), Matt, Kara, Alicia, Becca (Paul) and Jamie; and great-grandchildren Sadie, Austin, Landon, Logan and Mark Avery.
Our family would like to thank Father John Houlihan, Jaysun Mims and the wonderful staff at Langemo Cottage on the Saint John’s campus. Your compassion, empathy and love we will always appreciate, more than words can express.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the “Thomas Kids Gym” at the Billings Family YMCA or the Walk to End Alzheimer’s “Jack’s Tribe.”
One of our dad’s favorite quotes, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming … ‘WooHoo! What a ride!’”
Memorial Mass will be at 12 noon on Thursday, May 23, at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral, 215 N. 31st St., Billings. There will be a reception from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Billings Petroleum Club.