April 12, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
April 12, 2016
- 7:00 PM
April 13, 2016
- 10:30 AM with a visitation one hour prior
James Thomas, 75, passed away after a long illness on April 11, 2016, at Essentia Hospital surrounded by his family.
James was born to Frank and Margaret Thomas in Ft. Yates, ND, on October 19, 1940. He attended high school in Ft. Yates and received an accounting degree at the Interstate Business College in Fargo. While in college he met and married Arliss Buth and later welcomed their daughters, Sue and Tara, into their lives.
It was during this time he began his lifelong work with the Native American community, when he accepted a position at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, making many lifelong friends while he was there. In 1979, he moved to Aberdeen, SD to work for the Indian Health Service. He met and married Paula Grandpre and he accepted a promotion to a job for Indian Health Service in Albuquerque, NM. He and Paula had many adventures while there such as learning about lowriders and luminaries, before moving to his next posting in Portland, OR.
They were joined by their son, James Ramey, and started an entirely new set of adventures including oceans, mountains, coaching Ramey’s sports teams – and cars, always cars. James finished out his twenty year tour of duty in Portland and the family returned to Fargo to be closer to his daughters and other family.
It wasn’t in James’ nature to be idle, so he became the director of the Native American Program in downtown Fargo. His personality and ability to relate allowed him to provide direction to health care and other services for the local Native American population. He worked there until the program closed ten years later.
James settled into a well-earned retirement and pursued his favorite hobby – CARS – for many enjoyable years before he became ill. His drives always had to be the flashiest and fastest he could find – and he found many of them.
He is survived by his wife Paula, his daughters Sue (Dan) Nettum and Tara Lisburg, both of Fargo, and his son James Ramey (Rachel) Thomas, Fargo. His adored grandchildren Jade, Dillon, Skyler, Taylor, Diem and Wrenley. James is also survived by his sister Arlene Ramey, Sartell, MN, and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Franklin Thomas.