Our beloved father, Terry Lynn Thomas peacefully returned to our Heavenly father from the farm on March 4, 2023 at the age of 78. Terry was born in Benton, Illinois on March 16, 1944. He was preceded in death by his childhood sweetheart and dear wife of 57 years, Mary Lou Thomas on Feb 5, 2022, his parents Frank and Hazel Thomas, his brothers Val Gene and Gary, and sister Glenda Stiebel.
Terry's spirit and generous heart could be felt by anyone he came in contact with. Terry had a special gift of bringing a smile to everyone's face and enjoyed giving a hug to all as he never met a stranger. He especially liked to joke with others though his friends said, "Terry loved to dish it out, but could not take it."
Terry was an avid golfer, St. Louis Cardinal fan, and a supporter of any team his grandchildren participated on. His passion for playing Benton Ranger football, baseball and basketball ultimately garnered him a basketball scholarship to Middle Tennessee State University as well as many other awards. He graduated with an Bachelors degree in Biology and a Masters degree in Education. He then pursued pharmaceutical sales following his graduation from the Certified Medical Representatives Institute of Roanoke, Virginia with highest distinction he became a field force representative for Pfizer Laboratories and retired after 35 years in 2003. Following his retirement, he enjoyed being a marshal at Rend Lake Golf Course.
Terry loved the outdoors and spent much of his time in the woods hunting and fishing with his buddies, children and grandchildren. His love of the outdoors and music brought out the happy and free spirit that defined him. He especially loved birds and was an official Audubon bird counter at Rend Lake. Terry was a member of the Benton Elks Club and the Benton Ranger Booster Club.
His love for his family was above all others. He enjoyed traveling to Montana, California, Mackinac Island, Michigan, Door County, Wisconsin and many destinations such as Pebble Beach, Arizona, Augusta, Georgia and Florida to play golf.
Terry is survived by his son and daughter, Tera Keller and Todd Thomas, son-in-law Ryan Keller, daughter-in-law Michele Thomas, granddaughters Caroline, Courtney, and Carlianne Keller and grandsons Chase and Kyle Thomas, sister-in-law Sandra Long and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.
Graveside services will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the National Audubon Society, an organization Terry enjoyed.
The Leffler Funeral Home of Benton is in charge of the arrangements.
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