Early in Charlie’s pre-teen and teen years, during the “dirty thirties” he worked at various farms in the Garden City Area earning $1.00 to $1.50 a week all of which went to help support his family.  During high school he worked at the Security Oil Service Station in South Garden across from the park.  During those early years Charlie’s hard work ethics became well known to many in the surrounding area.  He continued working at the service station after his marriage to Betty Lightner on Dec.20th 1942 until he joined the army and left for the service on August 15th, 1942.
 
He took basic training at Camp Roberts which was near Paso Robles California where Betty lived until he shipped out.  It was fortunate in many ways that it was Camp Roberts as many of Betty’s family had migrated to Paso Robles several years earlier.
 
Charlie served in the South Pacific where he saw battle and earned a Bronze star for bravery.  Later he was among the first occupation forces in Japan.  He received his discharge on his 21st birthday and was the rank of 1st sergeant at that time.  He returned to Garden City to his wife Betty and his son Tom.   That was the first time he had seen his son Tom who was born in 1944.  Upon his return he went to work for the Finney Co. Road Dept. 
 
In 1946 he moved his family to Cimarron.  For the first few months they did their sleeping under a tree at his folks salvage yard, Cimarron Iron and Metal.  At that time he began operating the salvage yard with his father Carl.  The salvage yard was located on the lot north of the present day location of the John Deere dealership on the west side of Cimarron.  Pete and Joetta were born during this time, Pete in 1947 and Joetta in1948. 
 
For a year in the late 40’s or early 50’s Charlie moved his family to Syracuse KS to start a salvage yard on the west side of town. 
 
He brought his family back to Cimarron and purchased the local Standard station and later added the Mobil station just down the street.  At the same time he was elected Gray Co. Sheriff and served from 1956 to 1960.
 
In 1959 he purchased the Rodeo (pronounced Ro-day-o) Bar and Grill in Shandon California and Ferdi’s Bar and Grill in Paso Robles.  In the summer of 1960 the decision was made to move the family to Paso Robles and run Ferdi’s Bar and Grill.
 
In late 1961 Charlie returned to Cimarron to purchase the John Deere dealership from Virgil Menzie.  He moved the family back to Cimarron and took over ownership of Thomas Implement on Jan. 1st 1962 where it remains family owned and operated.  Susan came to live with them in the mid 1960’s so she could finish her schooling at Cimarron.  
 
During this time he was on the City council for many years and was Mayor from 1966 to 1974.  He also served on the cities Zoning commission and helped develop the present day zoning codes. 
 
Charlie started buying ground and farming in the late 60’sand farmed until he was unable to do the manual labor required.  He then continued helping at the John Deere dealership and managed the family owned car wash, One shot, on the west end of Cimarron. 
 
He was always a builder upper, not a tearer downer.  If asked how he was he usually replied 'never had it better'. 
 
In 2003 due to his and Betty’s health they moved to an apartment at Manor of the Plains in Dodge City where they lived together until his death and where Betty will continue to live.
 
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother Carl and Ina (Gilmore) Thomas, and Carl Thomas Jr.  Left to mourn his passing are wife Betty; children Charles Jr. (Tom) and wife Judy, Clinton (Pete) and wife Jane, Joetta Sue and husband Larry Neuschafer, Susan (Wheaton) and husband Denis Wallace; brothers Darrell Dean and wife Kathleen, Arther Dale and wife Mary Lou, Frankie Dwayne and wife Marilyn; sisters Virginia Lee Korf and husband Jim, Patricia Annetta Culver and husband Bob; grandchildren Larry Neuschafer Jr. and wife Charlotte, Chuck Neuschafer and wife Audrey, Chris Thomas and wife Shannon, Phil Thomas and fiancé' Meredith Tracy, Karyn Sullivan and husband Jayson, Tim Thomas, Troy Wallace and wife Amy, Tobe Wallace and wife Michelle, Aubree Chaffin and husband Aaron, Aryn Thomas; great grandchildren Ashley, Dylan, Joshua, and AnnieJo Neuschafer, Alex, Kaleb, and Blake Neuschafer, Kyle, Hannah, and Eli Thomas, Alec, Austen, and Jacob Chaffin, Ty and Tia Wallace and a host of friends and loved ones.
 
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