Martin Lee ‘Marty’ Thomas

Martin “Marty” Lee Thomas died Saturday September 17th, 2022 after a short illness.

Marty was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois to Kenneth and Mildred Thomas April 30th, 1938, and transplanted to his beloved Lawrence, Kansas where he was a proud 50- year resident.

Marty was a Parade All-American football player at Urbana High School and earned a full ride scholarship to the University of Illinois in 1956, becoming a 2rd generation athlete at the U of I along with his younger brother (Steve Thomas). After a severe back injury ended his career, he transferred to Eastern Illinois to finish out his “academic” career.

Later in life, Marty had a long and respected career as a sports official in Lawrence and the Mid-West, working baseball, softball, basketball and football at all levels from Rec League to College. It was here that he met and made some of his strongest, best and life-long friendships. This vocation gave him a great sense of joy, purpose and accomplishment. He was well known to all and liked by most.

Marty went on to become a highly respected and well-known salesman for both Anderson and Pella, specializing in retro-fitting older homes with new window and door technology. He was pretty damned good at it, but didn’t care much for it because, well…… people. And, it kept him from spending time doing what he would much rather have been doing.

A non-exhaustive list of those things were:

Fishing, hunting, mowing his lawn without a shirt, drinking beer, going to the gym, thinking about fishing, planting stuff in his yard, chewing Red Man tobacco, planning a fishing trip, cleaning gutters, dutifully caring for a cat he hated named “sombitch”, watching sports on TV, organizing fishing stuff, complaining about people, being critical of Kansas Football, being proud of Kansas Basketball, having genuine disdain for all things Missouri, drinking beer and fishing.

Marty is survived by his three kids, Kent (Sunriver, Oregon), Lara (Olathe, Kansas), Carrie (Lawrence, Kansas), Step-Son Michael McCaffery (Lawrence) and ex-wife Carole (Lawrence). He was preceded in death by his parents Ken & Millie Thomas (Urbana, IL), brother Steve (Arcola, IL) and loving partner Carol McCaffery (Lawrence).

Additionally, Marty has 10 grandkids living throughout the country in Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Each of whom he loved, made fun of, sent hilarious birthday cards to, mostly tolerated, provided endless jars of candy to, worried about, cared deeply for and was genuinely proud of.

Per his wishes, there will be no formal funeral; rather, there will be a private gathering to celebrate his impact on all of us and tell stories over some beers & wings. If he liked you, you’re invited – so it will be small event!

Out of respect for his wishes, the family asks that no gifts, flowers or other such nonsense be sent on his behalf.

Messages & Condolences

From Cristy L Sullivan...

Corbin and Family,
So sorry for your loss. May Marty Rest in Peace!
Love,
Sully, Cristy & Kennedy

From mike mccaffrey...

great guy was so thankful for
the way he treated MICHAEL
thank you Marty

From Sam Fisher...

Marty I’m so very grateful that all the very best about you continues to bless this world through your dear son.

From Jenna Oelkers...

Nothing better in this world than a hug from Uncle Marty. I’ll forever miss rolling up to his house for an overnight along our 16 hour drive to Illinois. The last time we stayed the night there we sat around the kitchen table drinking far too many beers and chatting for hours. It probably wasn’t great for the rest of the drive we then had to complete, but it sure was on of the most memorable evenings I have with him.

From Laura Smysor...

I was always in a good mood after chatting with him at the grocery store. What a funny guy! Frank and I both enjoyed him. Sorry for your loss.

From Shannon Sells...

Marty was one of a kind! Everytime I saw him, I ALWAYS got a smile (or smartass smirk) which was ALWAYS followed by a smartass comment, jab or joke! He would start off serious (and I sometimes wouldn’t know for sure) and leave laughing!! Love and miss him!! My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

From Mitch Thomas...

I absolutely love the picture. That captures Uncle Marty! He was the real life “Grumpy Old Man.” Very quick to offer up a quick jab or two and just as quick to lend a helping hand. Thank you Uncle Marty for everything you have done for me.

From Lissa Oelkers...

Like his father…. he didn’t like girls…. but he damn sure could give this girl the hug I needed especially after my daddy (his brother) passed away! He always had a cup of Folgers ready for us when we stopped in for a visit…. but did all the other kids actually mess up those candy jars?!? I didn’t let my kids touch them!
I love you Uncle Marty!!

From Tommy Santrock...

I only knew him informally through his son Kent, a little time overs some ribs and a KU basketball game. Loved him instantly. Im so sorry Kent. Love you, buddy!

From Dianne Thomas...

A great man. I hope I get invited to the wing and beer celebration…I have a feeling it will be full of some pretty great people. Love you all and so sorry about your sweet daddy. Fred and Dianne

From Jay Nelson...

Marty was a dear friend and coworker. Marty didn’t work for me, he worked with me. Typical of Marty, he didn’t share much about his athletic career. I wish we had a youtube video of Marty getting run over by one of those Lawrence High running backs during his time as an official! We loved his character and sense of humor. He loved his family and will be missed.

From Patsy Frison...

So sorry to hear of Marty’s passing, he was always kind to me, could always make me laugh. He will be missed

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