Thursday, 13 June 2024

Delbert Lee Thomas Sr.

Delbert Lee Thomas Sr. Courtesy photo.

Delbert Lee Thomas Sr.
Dec. 9, 1939 — Feb. 25, 2024

Delbert Lee Thomas Sr., 84, of Clearlake Oaks, California, passed away on Feb. 25, 2024, in Santa Rosa, California.

Delbert was born on the Elem Indian Colony in Clearlake Oaks and attended Lower Lake High School. He later relocated to the Bay Area, where he attended Contra Costa College.

He returned to live in the Clearlake Oaks and Spring Valley area. He was living in Santa Rosa prior to his passing.

Delbert dedicated 33 years of his life as a lineman for Pacific Gas and Electric, building towers and climbing poles before the use of bucket trucks. He was a cultural and religious expert within his community, serving as the captain of the Elem Roundhouse since he was 19 years old.

Delbert was a committed guardian of traditional and religious life ways, he was a beautiful singer and dancer. He found great joy in harvesting abalone, seaweed and acorns along the northern Mendocino County coast.

Delbert was a devoted fan of the San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. He cherished spending time camping along the coast and indulging in traditional Native foods. Delbert's presence will be deeply missed by his loving family and many friends.

He is survived by his wife, Lori Laiwa Thomas; his sister, Loretta Kelsey; his sister, Alice Audrey Arroyo; his daughter, Julie Plevney, daughter Sandra, son Lyle, son Daryl, son Gary and daughter Rhoda, including stepchildren Marcus Meloy and Sheila Castillo.

His large extended family includes 27 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. He had numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Delbert was preceded in death by his mother, Caroline Williams; his father, Cecil Thomas; uncle, John Kelsey; aunt, Effie Kelsey; his former wife, Betty Thomas; his sister, Alice Audrey Arroyo; his son, Joe Thomas; and his son, Delbert Lee Thomas Jr.

In accordance with Delbert's final wishes, there will be no funeral service or burial. Instead, his ashes will be spread at sea and his dinner will be held at Abalone Point, Mendocino County coast on March 24 at 1 p.m.

His family wishes to thank the following Tribes for assisting with financial donations: Colusa Indian Community, Elem Indian Colony, Hopland Pomo Nation, Sherwood Pomo Nation, Big Valley Pomo Nation and Cahto Tribe of Laytonville.

The Eggen & Lance Mortuary in Santa Rosa is assisting the family with the arrangements.

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