Donald Gould Thomas

Donald Gould Thomas

Donald Gould Thomas was born on February 23, 1926, to Arthur C. and Ethel G. Thomas, in Walla Walla, Washington. Don was the youngest of four boys.

His family moved to Seattle during the Great Depression where he attended and later graduated from Roosevelt High School. He served in WWII as a radio operator in the Merchant Marines. After WWII, he attended the University of Washington, where he joined the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. At the start of the Korean War Don was drafted a second time into the Army Air Force. After serving his country, Don returned to the University of Washington where he met Audrey Petersen, who at the time was flying with United Airlines. They were married shortly thereafter in Tyler, Minnesota.

Don & Audrey settled in Bellevue where Don began his sales career with AirMac, a material handling equipment company. Don & Audrey later moved to Bothell to raise their four children. Don served Bothell First Lutheran Church and many other organizations.

Don soon started his own company, Material Handling Associates, enlisting many old friends as partners and co-workers. His subsequent business was his legacy, NorthWest Handling Systems which continues to operate today.

Don and Audrey moved to Tacoma where he eventually retired. Don continued to serve the Tacoma community at Saint Marks Lutheran Church, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Foundation and Pierce College Foundation

Don was an avid golfer and was a member of the Sand Point Country Club. He was also a member of Seattle Yacht Club where he enjoyed power boating. Don loved to fish and organized a fishing trip each year to Sitka, Alaska. He also loved private airplanes and flying and attended many EAA fly-ins. Don played the piano throughout his life, bringing an appreciation for many types of music to his household.

In 2004, Don was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and fought the disease for 11 years.

He will be missed beyond measure. A member of the greatest generation, he will never be replaced, but his legacy lives on in the lives he touched and the fortunate people who knew him. The world is a better place because he was in it.

Don is survived by his son, Kevin Arthur Thomas (Frances), daughters Kathryn Thomas Walkley, Karen Thomas Scott (George “Scott”), Jane Thomas Bigelow (James), grandchildren Conner Thomas, Morgan Myers, Ethan Walkley, Anna Myers, Avery Thomas and James T. Bigelow.

A celebration of Don’s life will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2015. For details, contact Kevin Thomas at In lieu of flowers, the Thomas family would appreciate your donation to MultiCare Health Foundation in support of Regional Cancer Center, PO Box 5296, Tacoma, WA 98415