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Donald F. Thomas

April 26, 1928 December 20, 2018
Donald F. Thomas
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Obituary for Donald F. Thomas

Donald F. Thomas, loving husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and friend, peacefully passed away December 20th, 2018 at the age of 90. Don was a loving and giving man who lived life to the fullest. Don cherished his family and his many friends, and was respected by all.

Don Thomas was a visionary and pioneer in the ski industry; following his passion for the sport, he turned it into a successful career, establishing Don Thomas Sporthaus in 1953, in Ferndale, Michigan. As the business grew, Don Thomas Sporthaus opened in 1963 in Bloomfield Plaza.

Don dedicated his career to sharing his love of skiing and the inherent camaraderie that the sport renders. Don continuously gave back to the sport of skiing, an original founder of Ski Prix, a highly successful fundraiser for the U.S. Ski Team, and working with high school ski teams.

In 1964, Don Thomas started the Blizzard Ski Club, Michigan’s first teaching program for junior skiers, which grew to launch over 3,000 skiers each season. Don Thomas was inducted into the Michigan Ski Hall of Fame, recognizing individuals that have significantly contributed to the growth of skiing and snowsports.

Donald Thomas was born April 26, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan to Delma Frelick Thomas and Raphael Thomas, and attended Cass Tech, U. of D., and Central Michigan University. Don married his wife of 65 years, Edna Whitney, in 1953 who he originally courted in the Snowflake Room, at Boyne Mountain. He promptly opened the original Don Thomas Sporthaus following their marriage.

Don enjoyed all of the Michigan seasons, the outdoors, and travelling. A member at the Detroit Yacht Club since the mid 1950’s, Don loved sharing the water aboard his boat the Sno Mink with family and friends. Many a trip to Georgian Bay and throughout the Great Lakes was enjoyed by all.

Don Thomas is survived by his three children, Bob (Lindley) Thomas, Nancy (George) Joseph, and Bill (Kami) Thomas and sister-in-law Doris Whitney. Proud Grandfather to Lawrence, Michael, Megan, Gregory, Andrew, Christopher, Elizabeth, Anna, and Sophie. Proceeded in death by his loving wife of 65 years, Edna W. Thomas.

Friends may visit at the San Marino Club, 1685 E. Big Beaver Road, Troy 48083, Thursday, January 10th beginning at 11am. A Sharing of Memories will begin at 12 Noon followed by a reception. Please bring a story to share.

To support Metro Detroit Ski Racing for High School Students, donations may be made to
South Eastern Michigan Ski League, (S.E.M.S.L.) C/O Veritical Drop Ski Shop, 6325 Sashabaw Road, Suite E, Clarkston, Michigan 48346.

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