1926-2013

Baldwin legend Orrie W. Thomas, age 86, of Baldwin passed away on June 25, 2013 at his home surrounded by family and friends. He was born on June 27, 1926 in Bitely, to Anthony and Francis (David) Thomas. He married Patsy on December 7, 1968 and she survives.

Orrie grew-up and worked on the Thomas family farm in Bitely. He shot his first deer at age 9 and continued to hunt every year up to and including 2012.

He enlisted in the United States Army in 1943. He served during World War II in Japan and then served as a military police officer until 1947.

Orrie and his brother Don Thomas opened “Don and Orrie’s Leonard Service” on U.S. 37 south of Baldwin. Several years after Don’s death, he opened “Orrie’s Service” in Baldwin in 1967. After selling his business he went to work for the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a heavy equipment operator. After he retired he enjoyed caring for his yard, trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, patrolling Kinney Creek Club, hunting and fishing, spending good times with friends, and all the neighborhood kids.

Dogs knew they could hit Orrie up for special treats. He enjoyed watching the birds, squirrels, rabbits and the occasional deer in his backyard.

Throughout his lifetime his home had a revolving door, never a dull moment. His patio was always full of family and friends. Orrie loved life! He was known to take over the dance floor with his wife Patsy. He touched many lives. He was always there to lend a helping hand and share his knowledge. He loved his garden and flowers, fishing, and all things nature. Although deer hunting was his passion, he did shoot a black bear in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1976.

He was a lifetime member of the Peacock VFW Post 5315 in Baldwin and was also a member of the AmVets Post 1988 in Baldwin.

His family would like to thank Dr. Mark Zook, his nurse Lisa and staff in Reed City, Dr. Brian Jaffe, his nurse Amy and staff of Traverse Heart and Vascular in Traverse City, Hospice of Michigan and family and friends who stopped to visit, sharing their love and support.

In addition to his wife of 44 years, Patsy Lou Thomas, he is survived by his daughter Vivian Filer-Thomas, and adopted daughter Verceile Landsburg of Rockford, daughter Francis Garrison of Grand Rapids; one grandson, many adopted grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

His memorial will be Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the VFW Post 5315 in Baldwin. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider a contribution to Patsy in lieu of flowers.

Sheand her family will be making a donation to Hospice of Michigan in his name and would like to add your contribution to their gift.