Andrew L. Thomas, 91, passed away August 26, 2019

Andrew L. Thomas, 91 of Coloma passed away August 26, 2019 at his residence.

A Memorial Mass with Military Honors will be celebrated 11 am Friday, August 30 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Watervliet.  In lieu of flowers, please give to Hospice at Home, 05055 Blue Star Hwy, South Haven, MI 49090 who were so instrumental in his care or to St. Joseph Catholic Church.  Those wishing to leave an online message of remembrance may do so at

Andrew was born Sept. 17, 1927 in Hollywood, Calif. to Mildred and Harry Moses.  His parents died when he was just a young boy so he was transported to Dowagiac to live with his aunt and uncle, Howard and Wilma Goodsell.  There he joined the Boy Scouts of America and became an Eagle Scout.  Later both of his sons also became Eagle Scouts.  Andy was very athletic and joined both tennis and basketball teams.  One summer he went to live with Dr. Stowe at Kalamazoo College to better his skills in tennis.  He joined with Harold Upjohn and they together won the Michigan State Doubles tournament while he was still in high school.  He participated in the Dowagiac High School basketball program and he scored 23 points to help win the Class B Championship title.

After finishing high school, he enrolled at Western Michigan University.  Since it was wartime, he was able to play as a freshman on the varsity team for Buck Reed.  His greatest achievement there was playing at Madison Square Gardens against St. John's when he stole the ball at the end of the game, tied the score and put them into overtime as they went on to win the game.  The campus was ecstatic, meeting them at the train station and carrying the players on their shoulders and parading through Kalamazoo.  Later he was instrumental in making overtime wins against other colleges.  Playing on the WMU tennis team he and Arnie Brown joined to win over other great colleges and Andy alone had the highest record for the tennis team at WMU.

In 1946, the war was over but all young men were being drafted so Andy joined the Army after his first year at WMU.  He was sent with the occupational troops to Japan where he served for two years.  There he played on the famed Kakura basketball team and the tennis team as well as attending to his duties as a Sergeant after WWII.

On his way back from Japan, he stopped and enrolled at UCLA.  his first year there was the same year that John Wooden became their basketball coach and Andy was happy to be able to join the UCLA team.  They won the Pacific Coast championship that year.  He also joined the tennis team and he and his doubles partner, Keith Self, won the Pacific Coast Conference Tournament.

After his first year at UCLA, he returned to Dowagiac for the summer.  There he met his wife Joyce who was teaching at the local high school.  They dated but then he returned to Los Angeles for his sophomore year.  The following year they met again and married on September 10, 1949.  That will be 70 years in 2019.  The following year Dr. Jeffrey Thomas was born in Santa Monica, Calif. and later Jeff produced two grandchildren, Matthew and Marya Thomas who live in Traverse City.  Matthew is a helicopter nurse and Marya an insurance executive.

Returning after graduation to live in Michigan, John Michael (Susan) Thomas was born and he later presented Andy with three grandchildren; Ryan John (Noreen) Thomas, manager of Depatie Fluid Power in Kalamazoo, chiropractic Dr. Lindsay Sue Thomas (Kevin) Dodd of Naples, Fla, and cosmetologist Alysse Anne Thomas of Kalamazoo.  Andy has three great grandchildren; Ryan's children, Liam and Una Thomas of Kalamazoo and Lindsay's daughter, Macy Dodd of Naples, Fla. He also has close relatives Judy and Ed Messal of Evansville, Ind, and Charles and Sharon Watts of Benton Harbor.  Andy's genealogy was traced back to 1069 with his great great great grandfather, Uzziel Putnam being the first white settler in Cass County.  He was preceded in death by his son Dr. Jeffrey Thomas in 2002.   Many thanks go to his caretakers for their great concern and care.

Andy was a project engineer at Whirlpool Corporation for 35 years before he retired.  During that time he continued with his tennis and he and Don Pimley of Muskegon won the 45 doubles tournament for the Southwestern Michigan Tennis Assoc.  He was also a member of the Whirlpool Management Club, Coloma American Legion Post 362, and Alumni Clubs of both UCLA and WMU.

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