Peter J. Thomas, age 76, of Kalamazoo, MI passed away Sunday, June 4, 2017 from pneumonia as a complication of dementia. Pete was born October 21, 1940 in Evanston, Illinois to Maurice, an immigrant from Cornwall, and Helen (Anderson) Thomas, whose parents immigrated from Sweden. Determined that Pete and his sister Linne receive the education they never did, Pete graduated 1962 from Lawrence University and was inducted into the Lawrence University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. He was married to Patricia Webb on December 29, 1962. Pete served in the U.S. Air Force from 1962 to 1965, stationed in Germany, where his son Bill was born. Pete and Pat made lifelong friends there and 'sampled' German culture, which included swiping an official Lowenbrau Lion from the Munich Oktoberfest. Their daughters, Anne and Sarah, were later born in Appleton, Wisconsin, and in 1972 they settled in Kalamazoo. Pete loved people. He could always charm the awkward guest at a party, and he'd show up at a moment's notice to sub for tennis, golf, and 'paddle'. He organized fishing and camping trips adeptly, and knew when to pour someone another drink. Pete believed in community action and social justice, and volunteered for arts organizations, environmental groups, community organizations, and even as a soccer coach. One of his favorite places was the Kalamazoo YMCA, especially near the end. And Pete loved art, music,and beauty with a deep, ineffable joy. He was the perfect audience--intelligent, appreciative, and enthusiastic. Pete was a fun, hands-on father and grandfather and he never met a baby he wouldn't hold. Children adored him, none more than his four granddaughters, Jillian, Bridget, Leigh, and Jane. Pete and Pat were married for 54 years. It was always clear, even when things got hard, that Dad always cherished and respected Pat; and it was the same for his children. He always told them that he loved them and was proud of them. Despite the trials of dementia, Pete maintained so much of his kindness, his helpfulness, and his curiosity, and tried to protect his family from his illness. His granddaughters always brought out the best in him and saw little of his decline. In his honor, his family donated his brain to the CTE Center at Boston University, which studies traumatic brain injury in professional and amateur athletes due to concussion. A celebration of Peter's life will take place at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 5:00pm. Memorials in Peter's name may be directed to the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo and Trout Unlimited.