Alvie (Al) Thomas Obituary – The Arizona Republic

Alvie (Al) Thomas

Mesa – Alvie (Al) Thomas, a proud third generation Arizonan was born at home on July 24, 1933 in Phoenix to Nadene Moss Thomas and James (Tommy) Thomas, their firstborn. When his mother mentioned his birth, she said he was born in a dust storm. He always answered, “during mom, during.” Three siblings were born over the next three years: Frances Langley, deceased, and William Thomas, deceased. He is survived by his wife Mary, his brother Bob, his children: Laura, Mark, Debby (daughter-in-law), his granddaughter Ellie Thomas, as well as two nephews, James Strickland, Randy Thomas and a niece Vicki Winkler.

Al graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1952. Two days later, he enlisted in the army to see Germany. Instead, he was sent to Korea during the Korean conflict where he achieved the rank of master sergeant. He received two bronze stars. The last 18 months of his service were spent at Yuma.

He attended Arizona State University on the GI Bill, for which he was grateful. While earning his master’s degree, he met Mary Hines, who later became his wife of 57 years. He began teaching in 1962, specializing in education. He spent his first two years teaching at Mesa Junior High School. After that, he went to Westwood High School as part of the staff to help open his freshman year. He has taught American history, Arizona history, and government. He has also coached many sports, including American Legion baseball, soccer, women’s softball, and track and field. However, his first love was American history. He retired from Westwood in 1995 and continued to fill in for ten years.

During his tenure, his two children were born. He loved taking the family to Grand Canyon Disneyland and Oregon. He also took them on several fishing trips, including Oak Creek Canyon, Woods Canyon Lake, and the White Mountains.

His circle of friends was legion. They included the Hole in the Wall Gang, his many Theta Chi brothers, the Greer band, his Desert Heritage Church family, neighbors and former students. The circle also includes his family, as well as his traveling companions.

Although Christmas is Al’s favorite holiday, his family is grateful that he was able to enjoy his last Thanksgiving at home with them.

He will be missed by his wife Mary, his children Laura and Mark, his daughter-in-law Deb, his granddaughter Ellie (the light of his life) and his dog Lucky Maizy.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Stealing Hearts Rescue at 4008 W Camino Del Rio, Glendale, AZ 85310 602-686-4156

A celebration of life will be held Monday, December 20, 2021 at Desert Heritage Church, 1020 N Horne, Mesa, AZ 85203. A visitation with family will be at 10:00 a.m. Services at 11:00 a.m. will also be streamed online at /

At 1:00 p.m. there will be a short service at the National Memorial Cemetery, 23029 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix 85024

Posted on December 10, 2021

Posted in The Arizona Republic