Robert “Bob” Thomas
Robert J. Thomas, 85, a longtime Baker County rancher, died Jan. 5, 2010, at his ranch home. Bob Thomas was born on July 8, 1924, to Merton and Martha Thomas in a farmhouse in Crawford County, IA.
Bob was involved in agriculture even as a young man. He graduated from Dow City High School in 1943 and joined the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Iwo Jima and Saipan until the end of World War II. After returning home, he attended Iowa State University at Ames where he majored in animal husbandry. He married Gloria Ewoldt at Vail, IA, on Feb. 6, 1949.
The couple began farming in Iowa where their three daughters were born. In 1954, Bob, Gloria and their children moved to New York where Bob pursued a career as an Angus herdsman in upstate New York and on Long Island. During this time, they purchased Angus cattle and shipped them to Iowa to a family farm. In 1958, they moved to Sauvie Island and had their cattle shipped over by train.
In 1962, Bob and Gloria had a son and in 1963, Bob’s lifelong dream to ranch in the West was fulfilled when they moved to the Baker Valley where they developed one of the most prestigious Angus herds in America. Bob was a member of the board of directors of the American Angus Association for six years.
His greatest advocate and helper was his wife of 50 years, Gloria. They were an inseparable team as they worked together on the ranch and raised their four children. He attributed his success to the grace of God and he lived his faith. Bob was a longtime member of the Presbyterian Church and a follower of Jesus Christ. He loved his Angus cattle, his ranch and the Baker Valley. He had many dear friends. One of his favorite pastimes was putting out mineral and walking though his herd of registered Angus, his family said.
He enjoyed traveling with Gloria and also took his grandchildren on special trips. He traveled to France, Scotland, England, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, the Mediterranean, the Bahamas and Mexico. Bob’s extended family was important to him. This was obvious in the special relationship Bob and Gloria had with niece Laurie Thomas Daniels, the Smith girls, Merridee Wells and Jill Mackie, and the many other young people whose lives they impacted. Bob and Gloria hosted many family reunions on their ranch. Bob was a gracious host and made visitors feel welcome.
He was preceded in death by his parents; older brother, Jack Thomas; and his wife, Gloria.
Survivors include his sister, Ruth Grace Lyons; his brothers, Jim, Dick and Bill Thomas; his children and their spouses, Kris and Andy Barr, Sue and Sid Spurgeon, Beth and Frederick Phillips, and Rob and Lori Thomas; 12 grandchildren, Heather Connelly, Kati Elder, Drew Barr, Will Barr, Nick Spurgeon, Tim Spurgeon, Jodi Ernst, Lindsey Spurgeon, Ryan Phillips, Clay Phillips, Ty Thomas, Bryson Thomas and six great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Angus Foundation through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
Colorado Serum Company is saddened to report the passing of its patriarch, Majon Huff, on Jan. 11, 2010, at the age of 97.
Born in Sioux City, IA, on Feb. 19, 1912, Huff was forced to drop out of college and assume ownership of Colorado Serum in 1933 when his father died unexpectedly. By continuing the company’s hog cholera antiserum production, Huff navigated Colorado Serum through the Great Depression. Huff was instrumental in the formation of what would become the Animal Health Institute in 1941, which today represents the industry in Washington, D.C.
Huff was sent to Europe to fight in World War II as an artillery member of the 42nd Rainbow Division which has been credited for liberating the Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945. Due to his business experience, Huff was chosen to remain in Germany after the Nazis’ surrender as a part of the U.S.’ restructuring efforts.
Upon returning from the war, Huff dedicated himself to the business and growing the product line to include a wide range of biologics, veterinary instruments, diagnostics, and animal blood products. In his later years, he remained an intricate part of the company as the chairman of the board, showing up in his Checker cab, seven days a week. In fact, just weeks before his passing, Huff could still be found at his desk, petting the company dog, interacting with employees—each of whom he knew by name—and keeping up with their families.
Huff now joins his wife, Shirley, who passed away just months earlier in May 2009 at the age of 96 after 66 years of marriage together. Huff is survived and missed by his son Joe and daughter-in-law Cheri, grandchildren David and Daniel, their wives Natalie and Brigitte, and his greatgrandchildren Riley, Hayden and Sydney.
Services will be held Thursday, Jan. 21 at 4:00 p.m.at Faith Presbyterian Church, 22373 E. Alameda Ave, Aurora, CO.