Charles (Chuck) Melton Thomas entered into eternal rest on August 22, 2019 at the age of 87.
He was born on August 5, 1932 as the first of four children to Charles (his namesake) and Myrtle Thomas in North Wichita, Kansas. From an early age, Chuck loved to be active and to spend time outdoors. His early years were spent on a farm with crops, cattle, horses, chickens, turkeys, dogs and a large garden. He always carried that “farm boy” in his heart and it impacted his life and values. He was a Boy Scout, learning many survival skills, earning badges, and became a Life Rank Scout. His family spent time fishing and camping, activities he enjoyed his entire life.
In fourth grade, Chuck was using his pocket knife to cut a string for his teacher, and injured his left eye, resulting in its removal as a young adult. Chuck was resilient and dealt with this like his other accidents, broken bones, and animal bites. However, he always believed that as a result of his eye accident, he became a kinder, more compassionate person. Regretfully, due to his eye injury, he was unable to join the military and serve in the Korean War.
At fourteen years, Chuck joined 4-H and was particularly interested in cattle and horse projects. 4-H became a life-long interest, eventually resulting in a career, and an important part of his future wife and children’s involvements and interests.
Chuck’s family moved to Idaho in 1949 where he graduated from Glenns Ferry High School Class of 1950.
Chuck grew up in a family with few extra resources, so he learned how to work early and work hard to make a living. As a child of the Great Depression, Chuck was frugal by nature and taught his children the value of a dollar, that items could be used (and reused) in ways they were not intended, and that saving things could be rewarding when a need arose. Chuck was incredibly creative and resourceful.
Chuck started college at Idaho State University, then transferred to the University of Idaho in 1955, graduating in Animal Husbandry in 1959. During his college summers, he worked in the Forest Service for White Pine Blister Rust Control. He loved the outdoors, so to him it wasn’t really work. He was a charter member of Farmhouse Fraternity and remained active into retirement.
During the summer of 1959 he met the love of his life, Alverna Mueller. They were pinned in October and married December 17, 1960. During the fall semester of his senior year, Chuck took a job in Lewiston as the Nez Perce County Agricultural Agent in charge of the county 4-H program.
In 1968, they moved back to Moscow where he completed his Masters of Extension (MEx) at Washington State University. He was then employed by the University of Idaho as the Assistant State 4-H Leader, retiring in 1991. Chuck was an active hunter and was a strong supporter of the Hunter Safety program. He took his career seriously and was involved at both the state and national levels in committees, conferences, trainings, and trips with groups of young people. He developed state curriculum on a myriad of 4-H projects and led multiple committees related to the outdoors and the environment.
Chuck was a talented artist in leather tooling, wood working, carving, and collecting. His imagination and talent can be seen in each of his children and grandchildren as they have developed their own careers, hobbies, and creative interests.
Chuck and Alverna had three children, Michele Lynn Dirks (Bret), Debra Lee Lybyer (Randy) and Doran Ray Thomas (Jonell). Spending family time with his wife, Alverna, of 58 years, and children were of paramount importance to him from the moment his first child was born. Each child had a unique and special relationship with their Dad and he was intensely proud of them. Family vacations were active times, spent camping, clam digging, huckleberry picking, motorcycle riding, and sight-seeing.
He especially enjoyed his seven grandchildren. He loved to watch them perform and play, to tell them stories, take them bird watching, fishing, hunting, and to the rodeo. His grandchildren are Derek (Samantha) Dirks, Erika (Ryan) Lewis, Spencer (Annie) Lybyer, Miranda (Russell) Stein, Christian Lybyer, Jordan Thomas, and Jaclyn Thomas.
His six great-granddaughters, Emma, Lilly, Bella, Charlie, Stephanie, and Melanie loved their great-grandpa and will miss him.
Chuck had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the majority of his life. He lived by faith in the Lord, read the Bible daily, prayed without ceasing and attended church regularly. He is now with his Lord and Savior, reunited with his parents and little brother in heaven.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, October 26 at 11:00 am at the Moscow Nazarene Church.
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