Dennis "Jug" Thomason passed away Sunday, June 18, 2023, at his Ferdinand home surrounded by his family. He's now playing golf with his brother Bill and celebrating his Heavenly homecoming with his parents and his brother Bob.
He was born on March 25, 1936, to Vance and Gladys (Polly) Thomason. He grew up with four older brothers, Bob, Bill, Ardie and Mason, at the base of Mason Butte west of Craigmont. Jug graduated from Craigmont High School in 1954, a proud Craigmont Cougar. He loved all high school sports, with baseball and basketball, his favorites. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1956, spending his time in Korea. He was honorably discharged in 1958.
Jug married Gloria Birkeland, Feb. 2, 1959. They have three children, Teri, Denise and Rollie. Jug started his work career at the Union Warehouse in Craigmont. He soon joined his brothers, Bob and Bill in Thomason Chemical Company in Reubens and Craigmont. When they decided to sale the chemical company, he finished out his career in Union Warehouse/Primeland in Grangeville where he developed many close friends.
His love of sports never waned. When he no longer played, he became an umpire for Legion and high school boys baseball. In the winter, he'd referee for high school boys and girls basketball. He umpired for 20-plus years and refereed for 40 years. At times, he'd ref his own son or daughter's games, as well as several nephews. In the mid 1990s, he even ref'd a few of his granddaughter Laci's high school games. He was a well-respected official, later becoming commissioner and training other up and coming referees along the way. He was honored at the State and National level for these achievements. His son Rollie also became a referee. On several occasions, local coaches and players received a double dose of Thomason refs, when father and son stepped on the court together. After his retirement, he continued to attend high school basketball games.
Jug was a lifelong New York Yankees fan. It seems to run in the DNA of the Thomason Clan. He twice traveled with Rollie and his grandson Kasey to New York to watch the Bronx Bombers take on Boston Red Sox. Jug was a man of God. He was very proud to be involved in the Gideons. His goal was to get Bibles into the hands of students (grade school to college) and military men and women. He spoke at many churches on their behalf, telling the story of how important those Bibles were in his life. He and Gloria were lifelong members of the Craigmont Community Church, where they sang in the choir as she played the piano. They sang together at many weddings and funerals. He and Gloria loved to camp.
After he retired, they became snowbirds, traveling to Yuma, Ariz., for many years. Jug was a hunter. Spending time on Mason Butte hunting for deer with family and friends was his favorite. He had an amazing sense of humor and a gift for telling a story or a joke. He MC'd at the Craigmont Cougars High School class reunion dinner, June Picnic Grand Marshall dinner and announced the June Picnic parade for too many years to recall. He enjoyed giving people a rough time at all those events, and the community looked forward to it, especially the people on the class reunion parade floats. His Jug isms were legendary.
He leaves behind his wife of 64 years Gloria; his daughters, Teri (Jerry) Osburn of Craigmont, Denise (Howard) Lunderstadt of Post Falls; son Rollie (Tammy) Thomason of Genesee; grandchildren Laci McRae, Tobi Richardson, Lynae McCall, Logan Lunderstadt, Courtney Dack, Kasey Thomason, McKenzie Thomason, Derek Thomason; great-grandchildren Kade, Afton, Bowen, Laramie, Waylon, Lincoln, Henly, Greyson, Mason, Maddox, Coen and Harper; brother Ardie Thomason, and Mason (Barbara) Thomason; and numerous nieces and nephews who he was very fond of.
The family would like to thank Syringa Hospice, Cindy, and Tara, nurses: Christina, Hailey and Elizabeth. Your kindness and exceptional care are appreciated more than you know. And to Tobi: the loving care you provided your grandpa is more than we could have imagined. We are beyond grateful. Thank you.
A viewing will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, June 23, with his funeral service at 11 a.m. at the Highland High School Gymnasium, Craigmont. Burial will take place afterwards at the Craigmont Cemetery and a dinner will follow at the Legion Hall.
Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family at blackmerfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jug's memory to The Gideons, Grangeville chapter. Wear your Yankee shirt or your referee shirt. If only your whistle fits, wear that.