Cover photo for David L. Thomas's Obituary

David L. Thomas

David L. Thomas

Aug. 20, 1930 – Sept. 26, 2015

Dave “Trigger” Thomas, who had been a fighter all his life, lost a bout with cancer in the final round on Sept. 26. Many Boiseans know Dave from his stint in the 1990s as trainer and manager for Kenny Keene, the World Cruiserweight Champion boxer from Emmett – but he touched many more lives, both through boxing and as a hard worker and devoted family man, during his colorful life.

David L. Thomas was born Aug. 20, 1930, in Steubenville, Ohio, to Ruth Ella Johnson and Donald Hopkins Thomas. He grew up in the Ohio
Valley, a region famous for world-class athletes. In addition to almost 90 amateur and pro fights, he was a football quarterback and semi-pro baseball catcher. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force in England and North Africa, Dave was recruited to come “out West” to play football for Oregon Technical Institute (now Oregon Institute of Technology) in Klamath Falls, Ore. He studied accounting and business.

In college, he met Christine Langslet – or, as he put it for years afterward, “the most beautiful woman in the world.” They were married in 1955. Her mother gave the marriage six months – it lasted 59 years.

Dave’s career as a government contractor made for an exciting life, as the young family moved every year or two for his job. He was part of an elite group of project managers and analysts on special assignments for the U.S. Surgeon General, NASA, and at military bases in a dozen states and Germany.

Dave always kept one foot in the ring. He volunteered and fund-raised for local boxing programs everywhere the family lived – and if there wasn’t one, he started one. “Some kids are just going to fight,” he said. “You might was well put ‘em in a ring and let ‘em learn something from it.”
When Dave retired from contracting, the family moved to Boise for its proximity to southern Oregon. Dave built a successful second career in insurance and, of course, started the Idaho Golden Gloves gym on Franklin Road. He spoke fondly of its backers, including Joe Albertson and J.R. Simplot. The club’s list of champion boxers is long, and includes Dave’s son, David H. Thomas.

Dave’s toughness also came in handy as a lung cancer survivor in 1997. Cancer snuck up on him again just a month ago.

Dave and Christine always planned to move back to Klamath Falls, but health problems kept them rooted in Boise. They spent their last years at Paramount Parks in Eagle, Idaho, where they were treated with great kindness and respect. When Christine died last year, Dave lost some of his fighting spirit but never tired of telling funny (and mostly true) stories.

Dave was preceded in death by both his parents and wife, Christine. Survivors include their children: Christy, Cindy and David H. (Sharon) Thomas; grandson Adam Schafer; and sisters, Lynda Scheer of Palm Desert, Calif. and Phyllis (Hugh) Manley of Weirton, W. Va.

Memorial service is Mon., Oct. 5, at 1:30 p.m., at Alden-Waggoner Funeral Chapel, 5400 W. Fairview Ave., Boise. In Dave’s honor, the family suggests donations to the Boys and Girls Club in your area, Alzheimer’s Idaho, or the Alzheimer’s Association.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David L. Thomas, please visit our flower store.


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