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.

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  1. We
    Will miss JIm! You are like extended family and we love you all! We are here if you need anything

  2. We are deeply saddened by the loss of dear Uncle Jim. We are so grateful to have visited him over Christmas and to have those last memories of good conversation and laughs. Sending so much love to the rest of the family during this tough time.


  3. Dear Paula, Ramey and Family,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I noticed in recent pictures that Jim was using oxygen, but I didn’t think much of it as it seems to be pretty common. I didn’t realize he was not well. I will be thinking of you all and sending prayers and well wishes for you as you navigate this sad journey.

    With love,

  4. Paula and family!

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time. I feel very lucky to have met Jim last year at my birthday party. May he rest in peace knowing that he had such a loving and caring family – especially his wife Paula! Please know that I am here for you if you need ANYTHING!! Take care my friend.

  5. I told Jim last night and he felt sadden to hear about his old friend that liked cars just like he does. We also didn’t know that he was not feeling well. He is resting in peace and will live in the memories of all that love him. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Jim and Aida

  6. I was shocked to hear of Jim’s passing. I wish I had gotten to know him better. You always wish there was more time. My love goes out to Paula and Ramey and all the family.

  7. My heart is with the Thomas and Nettum Families in this most difficult time. We will all miss James’s feisty, honest, tell-it-like-it-is attitude. As well as his loving, caring, and giving soul and spirit.
    Its with a heavy heart that I say “I’ll see you later” to a member of extended family. My thoughts will be with you all.
    With Love,

  8. Sue and Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss, please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Sue, I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet your Dad last year. Although he wasn’t feeling well at the time, he was a trooper that day, even in that 90 degree heat! I can see where you got your “spunk” from, as well as your caring and compassionate ways.
    Hold tight to the memories they will sustain you though the difficult days ahead.
    Becki and Jeff Upton

  9. We are sorry to hear of Uncle Jim’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family!

    Randy and Kara Thomas

  10. We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Hugs from your Bismarck cousins.

  11. I Knew Jimmy as a Young girl when he was a teen ager , he spent a lot of time at our home in Ft. Yates. My Deepest Condolences to the Family. Jim was a Great Guy!!May he Rest in Piece.


    your cousin darlene, and sonny

  13. Gerry and I have pleasant memories of Jim and we so enjoyed visiting and going out to dinner with him and Paula. Yes, Jim liked his cars but he loved Paula, his children and grandchildren. Rest in Peace Jim and may God help comfort Paula and his family during this time of loss

  14. Paula, I am so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing and want you to know that I have You, Ramey, and his Girls and families in my thoughts and prayers. Hold onto all the funny and wonderful memories you and Jim made. All my love.. Marilyn

  15. I did not personally know James but I would like to share some words of hope to his family. It is so sad to see a person who is so full of life, love and spirit pass away. However, God promises that we will once again see, hug and be with our loved ones in a peaceful earth (John 5:28&29). Im sure everyone who misses James, which I notice are many, are eager for that day to come! I hope this promises will be of comfort and provide hope towards the future. I will include you in my prayers.

  16. Paula and family,
    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers during this sad time. May you find some peace knowing your loved one is no longer suffering and has peace. Paula, I always here for you. Diane

  17. Dear Paula,
    Thinking of you and hoping you can find comfort with family and friends.
    Memories keep those we love alive forever.

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