Gary D. Thomas, 80, passed away peacefully at his home at Camp Tuffit on Monday, June 4th, 2018. Gary was born in Kalispell, MT on May 11, 1938. He was the first of three children born to Jerome and Ruth Thomas.
During his first years of life at Camp Tuffit, his father, Jerome, was drafted into the service. Ruth and Gary joined Jerome when Gary was very young, 3 or 4 years old. They spent time in Biloxi, Mississippi and Gary later attended grade school in San Francisco where his younger brother, Mark, was born. The family returned to Camp Tuffit and Gary attended Proctor school. When it was time for high school, Gary took the bus to Polson. He was active in track, and was also known as an excellent pole vaulter, which led the team to take state championship two years in a row in 1955 and 1956.
While in high school, he met his sweetheart, cheerleader, Carol Pollmann. Gary told that they fell in love on the dance floor. They loved to dance! Gary graduated in 1956. They were married on January 24th, 1958. Gary and Carol lived in Polson, where Gary and Floyd Perkins owned and operated a furniture store until the late 1960’s. Their three daughters Jean, Tracy and Jennifer were born in Polson while living there. In the spring of 1969, the family moved to Lake Mary Ronan to help run the family owned camping and fishing resort, Camp Tuffit, with his brother, Mark and his wife, Dianne. Gary spent the rest of his working life happily at Camp. In the fall seasons, the Thomas family ran a successful Christmas treeing business.
Gary and Carol were avid golfers. They loved playing in Polson and also loved to travel in the winter time to warmer places where they could relax and play golf. They always enjoyed the company of their many friends and cherished the good times they had playing cards, ice fishing, bowling, golfing and traveling. In his later years, Gary was an accomplished wood working artist who enjoyed making many special gifts to the delight of all family members. Gary's girls fondly remember their dad encouraging and helping them with many awesome creative projects while growing up. There was a time when Gary had four or five aquariums going at a time and raised Angel fish, which was no easy task. Gary was an avid home movie maker and could splice his own footage into unforgettable and priceless movies that will last a lifetime.
Gary is preceded in death by his wife and love of his life, Carol and his parents, Jerome and Ruth.
He is survived by his three daughters, Jean (Wayne) Haskins, Tracy Thomas and Jennifer Thomas; his grandchildren Sydney, Jessica, Joel, Sam (Becca), Calliope and Achilles; great-grandchildren Riley, Tristan, Shay, Emily, Hailey, Ivy, Rylee, and Bailey; and great-great granddaughter Elise. He is also survived by his brother Mark Thomas and wife Dianne, his sister Jeanne Maas and husband Lynne and many loving nieces and nephews.
The service will take place on Monday, June 11th at 3:00 pm at the New Life Christian Center in Polson. A reception will follow at approximately 5:00 pm with the location to be determined. Please call Camp Tuffit at (406) 849-5220 for exact details. The family suggests donations, if desired, be made to Friends of Lake Mary Ronan, PO Box 106, Dayton, MT 59914. A very special thank you to Gary's caregivers who helped make the last years of his life comfortable and enabled him to be at home. Gary was funny with a great sense of humor. We’re going to miss you Gar Bear.