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It is with a heavy heart and an unbearable sense of loss we must announce the passing on of Robert Joseph “Bob” Thoms Jr. on the morning of the 1st the January 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. He was fifty-eight years old.
A memorial service for Mr. Thoms will be held 10:00 A.M. Monday, January 14, 2019, at Stonebridge Church of God in Ozark with Reverend Floyd Ingram officiating, Holman Funeral Home and Cremations of Ozark directing. The family will receive friends Monday in the church one hour prior to service time.
Robert Joseph Thoms Jr. was born on the 16th of January 1960 in S. Weymouth, Massachusetts to Robert and Catherine Thoms along with his brother, Douglas Thoms and sister, Mary Thoms. He joined the United States Army in 1978. Shortly after, he was stationed in Frankfurt Germany for two years. He then was deployed to Fort Hood, Texas between 1980 and 1984. In 1984 he was deployed back to Germany until his retirement as a Sergeant Major in 1987. He continued to live in Germany until 2001. He also served in Desert Storm as a contractor in the 90s. In July 2001 his family moved to America-- to Daphne, Alabama. He continued working for helicopter companies such as Bell Helicopters and various others. In 2004 he went overseas to Iraq to serve as a contractor until 2007. He returned back to Ozark to work at Bell Helicopters. Bob had a special liking for Huey II helicopters, working on maintenance and quality control. He also particularly loved working on sheet metal.
During his stay in Germany, he met his first wife Milli Thoms. They got married and were blessed with two children; Robert Thoms III and Kimberly Thoms. They later divorced after twenty years. Mr. Thoms met his second wife Laura Lynn Thoms in April of 2008 while they worked together at Bell Helicopters and got married in September 2008. Laura and Bob worked together until he started contracting which took him to many countries all over the world. They kept in touch every day and he went back home to his family often. They both shared a love for helicopters and built a wonderful friendship and comradely. Bob was always fast to boast about Laura’s peanut butter cookies, banana bread and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. His Love for his wife was imminent to those who were close to him, always describing her, calling her “Sergeant Major” and how much he always missed her.
Bob loved his family very much and despite being away from home constantly, he always kept in touch and stayed actively involved in their lives. In November 2018, his family welcomed his granddaughter Arizona Thoms to the delight of all family members. Despite not physically meeting Arizona till he met his death, “Ari” was always the apple of her Opa’s eye.
Robert Joseph Thoms was posted to Laikipia Air Base in Nanyuki in December 2016, as Field Service Representative (FSR) and maintenance specialist. Bob was responsible for the delivery and support of the Huey II aircrafts in Kenya. He was one of the lead team members that participated in the initial reassembly of the helicopters, training and flight testing together with the experts from Bell Helicopter as well as KAF technicians.
During Bobs two-year tenure with the Huey Squadron, he played a major role in ensuring that the fleet was up and running. He facilitated delivery and receipt of aircraft spares, special tools and ground support equipment for the Huey fleet. He was the technical lead within scheduled maintenance and servicing as well as during out of phase servicing tasks together with calendar inspections. He was instrumental in aircraft preparation, documentation, record keeping and quality control as well as assurance checks. Acting as a liaison in Huey II pilot and technician training both locally and overseas formed part of his mandate. In addition, Mr. Thoms was an inventory holder for Huey special tools and equipment on behalf of his company as the aircrafts awaited to be handed over to the KAF. He also provided technical advice in the logistics and procurement of critical spares and special tools and equipment. He also facilitated computerized aircraft maintenance systems applications as well within the squadron.
Bob Thoms was a particularly jovial and hardworking gentleman who left no stone unturned in ensuring aircraft maintenance procedures were adhered to. Matters of safety were key in his daily endeavors. Until his untimely and unfortunate demise, he stood cheerful and had plans to impact more knowledge on the technicians even up to Depot level so as to fully utilize the facilities already in place. He will be remembered for his determination and tireless efforts towards the success of Huey Engineering Squadron.
Bob enjoyed going deep sea fishing, riding his tractor and he had a grand passion for rock and roll music. He leaves behind a wide collection of wonderful music. In his spare time, Bob was involved in philanthropic activities mainly, at the Naromoru disabled Children’s home. He donated generously to the home and mobilized friends, family, as well as organizations to assist the home. One of the notable projects he championed with the help of his wife, friends and the Stonebridge Church in Ozark, Alabama was the installation of a biogas plant for provision of cooking gas as an alternative to firewood and LPG gas which prove to be too expensive. The Naromoru disabled children’s home was very special to Bob, he had great plans for the children’s wellbeing. In his honor, his wife Laura will continue with Bob’s legacy with support from friends and family.
On the 31st of December 2018, Bob took ill and was rushed to the Nanyuki Cottage hospital where he was transferred to Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi for specialized treatment. He later on passed away, on the morning of the 1st of January 2019.
He is survived by his father, Robert J. Thoms, Sr.; his wife, Laura Lynn Dawley Thoms; his son, Robert Thoms III and wife Dixie; his daughter, Kimberly Thoms; his brother; Douglas Thoms and wife Kyrst Hogan; his sister, Mary Thoms; his uncle, Paul Thoms and wife Val; a step daughter, Barbra Massey; grandchildren, Georgia Wise, Joshua Moseley and Arizona Thoms; sisters-in-law, Donna Senn, Barbara and Jimmy Piersante, Wendy and Chuck Williams. He is the son in law to Jean Dawley and has numerous nieces and nephews.