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American Veteran 01

       


Robert W. Thomas

April 4, 1947 ~ January 2, 2019 (age 71)

 

Bob was born on April 4th, 1947 and raised in the Highlands district of North Denver.  He attended Edison Elementary and Skinner Junior High before graduating from North High School (NHS) in 1965.  He met his wife of 52 years, Sharon (Sheri), through mutual friends just before graduation in 1965 and their first date was “grad night” at the old Elitch Gardens.

Following high school he briefly attended Northeastern Junior College and Metropolitan State College of Denver before enlisting and serving in the United States Airforce (USAF) from 1966 – 1970 as a Medical Service Specialist attaining the rank of Sargent E-4.  He then served two years in the USAF reserves.  During his medical service training he and Sheri were married in Chapel #1 at Sheppard Airforce Base in Wichita Falls, TX on October 8th, 1966.

In later years he became active in many post high school activities.  He served for many years on the board of directors for both the NHS Alumni Association and the NHS Scholarship Foundation.  He never missed a class reunion and served on the class reunion committee in 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015.  He served as Disk Jockey for the 1965 class 40th Birthday Party and again for the opening night festivities for the 40 year 1966 class reunion in 2006.  He originated, organized and maintained the class memorial project that was displayed at the 1965 class reunion’s in 2005, 2010 and 2015 and then served as a model for the class of 1966 memorial taken on by wife Sheri.

Following Honorable Discharge from the USAF he then attended Front Range Community College graduating with an Associate Degree in Respiratory Therapy, serving as class Vice President and was 2nd in his class with a G.P.A. 3.9.  The next year he successfully passed both his written and his oral examinations in Atlanta, GA and attained his Registry as a Respiratory Therapist (RRT).

In March, 1974, Bob and Sheri were blessed with the birth of their daughter Briana Kristine.

He then served on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Society for Respiratory Care for many years serving as President in 1975.  He created and edited the first society newsletter later known as the Peak Flow which received honorable mention from the National Respiratory Care Association and obtained approval from the Governor of Colorado for the first official Respiratory Care Day in Colorado.  He also organized and chaired the first state wide CSRT annual convention.

Bob went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree from Metro State College in 1976 and eventually went into teaching.  He served as Program Director of the Respiratory Care Program at Front Range Community College from 1976 – 1980 before relocating to Portsmouth, OH and serving as Respiratory Care Program Directory at what was to become Shawnee State University under the direction of Vern Riffe – Speaker of the House.

In 1986 he returned to Denver and ran the Hyperbaric Oxygen Laboratory at Denver Presbyterian Hospital.  While exploring a possible interest in the law he entered the Denver Paralegal Institute and obtained 60 graduate hours and a certificate as a Litigation Paralegal, again graduating first in his class.  Over the next 18 years he subsequently worked for various area law firms specializing in personal injury and medical malpractice.

Bob’s favorite holiday was Christmas and at one point he attended a Santa Claus school and became a professional Santa.  He brought many happy hours to children over the years listening to their wishes and going to their homes on Christmas Eve and doing “Sneak-n-Peaks”.  He attended public ceremonies as Santa and was even called upon to “propose” and present the engagement ring to a lady, in place of her fiancé, because the couple were such Christmas enthusiasts.

Bob’s primary interest, however, always remained with the healthcare field and in 2008, while employed with the Federal Government, he was sent to Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA to be trained as a Polysomnographic Technologist.  He again achieved national recognition as a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist and remained at the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center until he retired in 2011.  He and wife Sheri enjoyed their retirement by camping in their RV, traveling to Europe and touring more of the United States and enjoying life with their daughter Briana and grandson Hayden.  Bob enjoyed life to the best of his physical ability and his only regret was to not have more time with his grandson and family.

Quite suddenly in December, 2018 he was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia (AML) and passed away January 2nd, 2019.

He is survived by: wife Sheri, daughter Briana, grandson Hayden, Brother Donald, and sister-n-law June.  Nieces: Michelle (Rob), Julie and Dawn (Steve) and nephew Steven. Great nieces: Abby, Rebecca, and great nephews: Lestat, Lewis, Alex, Eirik and Brandon.

 

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