Richard Donald Thoes, a devoted Christian and beloved spouse, parent, grandparent, uncle, and friend passed away on February 14, 2023, in McKinney, Texas. Don lived a life of faith and service, and his love for God and others was evident to all who knew him.
He was a man who embodied a spirit of exploration, service, and devotion to family. He was born May 2, 1931, in Norman, Oklahoma during the turmoil of World War II and, from a young age, was inspired to serve his country. Don joined the Boy Scouts of America and later the Civil Air Patrol, where he had a memorable flight in a B-25 bomber at age 15. He then joined the Oklahoma National Guard's 120th Combat Engineers at 16 and was later awarded a Navy scholarship to attend the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
Don is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Mary Ellen McDaniel Thoes, with whom he shared a deep and abiding love. He is also survived by his children, Steve (Jan) Thoes, Sally (Billy) Grammer, and MaryAnn (Dan) Bayer, as well as his nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his parents Donald Byron Thoes, Neala (Monroe) Thoes, his stepmother Joy (Parr) Thoes, and his half-brother Jack Wilson.
Don’s commitment to service continued throughout his life. He served as a Naval Lieutenant and his experiences and friendships during his time in the Navy formed the foundation of his life. After leaving the Navy, he embarked on a successful career as an employee benefits and pension planner for Aetna, which spanned 36+ years and brought him numerous awards.
Don’s passions extended beyond his work. He spent his life living out his faith, serving others with his gifts. He particularly loved travel, church fellowship hours, civil service, financial planning, golf, pickleball (before it was a thing!), and meeting new people. He was actively involved in his communities (Rockford and Barrington, IL), serving on town boards and as a deacon in his church wherever he lived. In retirement, (McKinney, TX) he served as a Gideon, Chaplain of the Navy League of Dallas, and volunteered his time to help others with their taxes, reflecting his deep commitment to civil service. Don’s influence on his family was immeasurable. He instilled in them the importance of setting intentions, being an active member of the community, and the power of prayer and gratitude. His boundless curiosity and wonder inspired those around him to actively engage with the world and make the most of their time. Don lived a life filled with passion and purpose, and he will be deeply missed by his family and all those who knew him.
As we mourn his loss, we celebrate the legacy he leaves behind and the many lives he touched with his kindness, wisdom, and unwavering love. We give thanks for the gift of his life and the assurance of his salvation. We rejoice in the promise that he is now enjoying the eternal reward promised to all those who place their trust in Jesus Christ. A Memorial Service will be held on March 25, 2023, 11:00 a.m. at Redeemer Presbyterian Church at 7820 Silverado Trail, McKinney, Texas 75070.