William Daley Thomas obituary photo
 
In Memory of

William Daley Thomas

March 2, 1933 - March 11, 2017

Obituary


William Daley Thomas (March 2, 1933 - March 11, 2017), Pueblo, CO
With Beethoven's piano concertos playing on the CD player, and surrounded by family and his best friend as the words of the Tibetan Bardo of Dying were read aloud, William Daley Thomas, 84, died with grace, humor, and dignity, just as he had lived.
Daley was born in North Hollywood, CA, to Richard D. Thomas and Wilma G. Norton, who predeceased him long ago. His first wife, Joan H. Harrell, predeceased him in 2015. Daley is survived by his wife of 32 years,...

William Daley Thomas (March 2, 1933 - March 11, 2017), Pueblo, CO
With Beethoven's piano concertos playing on the CD player, and surrounded by family and his best friend as the words of the Tibetan Bardo of Dying were read aloud, William Daley Thomas, 84, died with grace, humor, and dignity, just as he had lived.
Daley was born in North Hollywood, CA, to Richard D. Thomas and Wilma G. Norton, who predeceased him long ago. His first wife, Joan H. Harrell, predeceased him in 2015. Daley is survived by his wife of 32 years, Ernestine Wardlaw-Thomas; his sister, Emily A. Jason of Pueblo, CO; his children, Morgen L. Thomas, Ethan D. Thomas, and Damon F. Thomas, all of Colorado Springs, CO; Emily Toth and David E. Duncan, both of Pueblo, CO; Marti E. Greeley of Colorado Springs, CO; and his niece, Carrie A. Jason of Pueblo, CO.
Daley was a devoted and loving grandpa to Chelsea L. Sobolik of Fort Collins, CO; William J. Sobolik of Colorado Springs, CO; SSgt Casey E. Toth of Honolulu, HI; Hannah A. Barton and husband Ryan along with great-granddaughter Bea, all of Rexburg, ID; A1C Christopher D. Thomas and wife Allison of Yuba City, CA; Sarah M. Thomas and Savannah M. Thomas, both of Colorado Springs, CO; Jeffrey D. Waldron of Colorado Springs, CO; and MIDN Kristy A. Lehmer of Annapolis, MD.
Daley graduated from UCLA in 1959 with a Bachelor's degree in music composition. While in college, he sang with the famous Roger Wagner Chorale. He played the piano, violin, guitar, penny whistle, harmonica, and Native American flute. In 2006, Daley and his friend Elizabeth Nichols co-authored and published a book of Native American songs and music. During that time, Daley became quite proficient in making Native American flutes, often gifting them to family and friends. He was a skilled woodworker, constructing redwood and maplewood tables throughout his life. Post-retirement, Daley delivered meals-on-wheels and volunteered to conduct a praise band at the First United Methodist Church in Pueblo, CO, creating musical arrangements for each instrument in the band. Daley had deep passion for classical music and could relate detailed stories of his favorite composers' lives. While serving in the United States Navy as an aerial photographer (1951 - 1955), he could often be found at the local church, practicing the piano compositions of Beethoven and Shostakovich.
Daley was an avid reader. Even macular degeneration couldn't stop him from reading books, articles, magazines, everything he could get his hands on. His favorite authors are too many to list, but among the most influential were George Saunders, Mark Twain, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the teachings in The Blue Cliff Record. He loved art and movies - the kids and grandkids always looked forward to his funny and impassioned film reviews!
Daley was employed with the United States Postal Service from 1956 to 1990, starting out in mail processing and achieving successive promotions from there, eventually becoming Postmaster in Pueblo, CO. While a supervisor, he learned sign language so he could communicate with and train hearing-impaired employees. He was a natural mentor and teacher, advocating for racial and gender equity in hiring practices and promotions. He did not tolerate prejudice or discrimination on any level.
Daley was genuinely interested in people and the planet. He was a skeptic of all things supernatural and believed the natural science of the world was far more interesting and educational. Humanity was his main source of joy and hope as well as disappointment and hardship. He had a deep sense of wonder and an even deeper curiosity that he encouraged in others through his words and actions. He extended a hand to every person whose path he crossed, no matter their past or present mistakes, no matter the beliefs they subscribed to. He practiced compassion and empathy toward all sentient beings, even when it was difficult. He supported family members and friends in their interests and goals, offering insights and advice along the way. He adored his grandchildren, taking on the role of father-figure for most of them, and they adored him right back.
Even as death drew closer, he did not look away, but instead remained curious and extended his hand in welcome. He chatted with loved ones, knowing that the tragedy and comedy of life lay behind him now and he was okay with that. He did not believe in permanence and made it clear that his death was an inevitable part of life and that we could be sad for a while, but not sad forever. He also believed in love, saying once, "If you have love in your life, that makes you the luckiest person around."
We have been privileged by Daley's love for us and he will be profoundly missed. Yes, indeed. And we will be sad for a while. Then we will remember the man we knew, and we will smile.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, April 30, 2017 from 3:00p to 5:00p at:
Southeastern Colorado Heritage Center (aka: Pueblo Heritage Museum)
201 W. B Street
Pueblo, CO 81003
Donations can be made in Daley Thomas's name to Heifer Foundation, a global non-profit organization that distributes animals, along with agricultural training, to families in need as a means of providing self-sufficiency. http://www.heiferfoundation.org/