Roy “Lead Bottom” Thomas

Roy “Lead Bottom” Thomas of St. Ignace, MI died peacefully at home on December 11, 2021, at the age of 76.

Roy was born in Highland Park, MI to the late Revis and Pearl Thomas. As a young boy he loved the woods and water. He knew Michigan geography best by its capacity for good hunting and fishing. He was particularly fond of the lakes in the Detroit area (before housing developments) and the woods and rivers near Indian River, MI where he and his brothers would play all day. He graduated from Inland Lakes High School where he enjoyed playing basketball and made several lifelong friends. Having moved a lot as a younger child, he referred to Indian River as the place most like a hometown to him. After a short time as a journeyman lineman in southern Michigan, he returned to northern Michigan to work for Proctor and Gamble (formerly Charmin) as a machinist/mechanic for 22 years. During these years, he was an avid bowler, competing many years in the American Bowling Conference. He rolled his first 300 in 1999. He played slow-pitch softball for years earning the well-known nickname of “lead bottom” for the significant amount of time it took him to get around the bases. He loved the competition of a game and respected talent and technique in almost any sport. He had a knack for naturally being good at most things he tried and often worked to perfect his techniques in the sports he most loved – bowling, golf, slow pitch, pool, and of course fishing. Roy was social and made friend easily – was always looking for ways to make a connection with someone.

When Proctor and Gamble closed in Cheboygan, Roy relocated to Florida for a few years. While he loved the sun and the challenge of sea fishing, he came back to northern Michigan to live in the Straits area, owning motels on both sides of the Mackinac Bridge. In the winter when the motels weren’t so busy, he often ice-fished and snowmobiled in addition to bowling. He got his realtor license and sold properties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula through StateWide realty in St. Ignace. He was always on the lookout for a good retirement property perfect for fishing and hunting. Instead, retirement took he and his wife Catherine (St.Onge) south to New Mexico where he had always wanted to experience living. He found endless joy there with his brother, Revis, spending many days bass fishing Elephant Butte Lake and digging for treasures in the mountains. He and Catherine also took work caretaking for a pecan farm and took great pride in understanding farming practices in the southwest climate. Roy and Catherine returned to St. Ignace to be near family as his health started to change in 2018. As much as northern Michigan was home, he would tell you often how much he missed the perfect, dry New Mexico heat.

Roy is survived by his wife and the love of his life, Catherine Thomas, who he lovingly called Sally, his two children Roy Thomas (Stacey) of Cheboygan and Debra Thomas Miller (Fredrick) of Midland. He is also survived by his step-children Amber Messer of Dafter, MI, Travis Binger (Kendra) of Gould City, and Brett Smith of Williamsburg, NM along with many grandchildren that he adored. Roy is survived by several siblings: Grace Goddard of Gaylord, MI., Revis Thomas (Birdie) of Array, NM, Mildred Mann of Sebring, FL, and Clarence Thomas (Brenda) of Plant City, FL. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by his brother, Doug Hunt (Margo) of Doylestown, PA, Ruth Stewart of Rochester, NY, and his brother-in-law William Mann. He is also pre-deceased by his nephew Paul Thomas of Truth or Consequences, NM, and Theresa Penner of Las Cruces, NM.

Service arrangements are not being made at this time and family will have a private celebration of life in the spring. Condolences can be made in care of Galer Dodson Funeral Home, St. Ignace, MI., to the attention of Catherine Thomas

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