Dr. Darryl William Thomas was born October 1, 1943 and passed away on his 79th birthday, October 1, 2022, after battling Alzheimer’s disease.
Darryl was a life-long resident of the Capitol Hill and Ensign Peak neighborhoods. He spent the last few years of his life in the care of The Ridge Assisted Living Center in Holladay, Utah. Darryl was preceded in death by the love of his life, Susan Kae Kleven Thomas, and his parents, Clarence “Tommy” and Geneve Gibbs Thomas. Darryl is survived by his two daughters: Rachel (Aaron) Larson and their four children, Brendan, Will, Noah, and Sam, and Sarah Thomas (fiancé Bivian Quinonez) and her son Spencer Larsen. Darryl loved dogs, especially his beloved German Shepherd, Ginger.
In his youth, Darryl was an excellent student and drummer. He joined his father (who played trombone) in the Salt Lake City Municipal Band. He earned his Eagle Scout Award along with many other academic achievements.
Darryl attended West High School, where he was later inducted as a member of the West High School Alumni Hall of Fame. He earned his Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Utah, where he played drums in the marching band. He was a longtime Crimson Club member and season ticket holder for the Runnin’ Utes. He earned a Doctorate of Education from Brigham Young University, where he had football season tickets for many years.
Darryl was a dedicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served a mission to Scotland in his youth. He later served as bishop of the Capitol Hill 1st Ward, counselor in the Salt Lake Stake presidency, and various other leadership and service positions. His favorite church service was serving side by side with Susan as they co-taught Sunday School and edited the weekly program and monthly neighborhood newsletter until Susan’s passing.
Darryl spent his career working in the Salt Lake and Granite School districts and Salt Lake Community College. Darryl held many roles in the education field throughout his career, including; math teacher, math specialist, elementary principal, junior high principal, adjunct math professor, and Director of Research and Assessment. Darryl retired with more than 35 years of working in the education field with numerous distinguished awards and accomplishments.
Darryl was an avid world traveler, reaching all seven continents. He began exploring foreign countries as a youth with his parents. Darryl and Susan continued to travel, touring many destinations together. Once Rachel and Sarah joined the family, annual vacations were a priority for Darryl. He pursued thrill rides and roller coasters around the country. Darryl was always willing to take nieces, nephews, students and eventually grandchildren to amusement parks. Darryl was known as an “adrenaline junkie”. He traveled the world looking for bridges to bungee jump off in places like New Zealand. He took the “Antarctic plunge” off a cruise ship on the coast of Antarctica. Darryl also found adventures closer to home such as the Nascar race track in Las Vegas. He even repelled down the side of The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. Darryl enjoyed the arts, as well. He had season tickets to Pioneer Memorial Theater and to Broadway at the Eccles.
Darryl’s adventures were things that he did. However, they did not define who he was. He was a kind and hard working person who always had time for family, students, and service. He lived his life faithfully and generously. His family and grandkids will remember the his stable influence, fun adventures, vacations, and weekly family meals at home and in restaurants.
The viewing and funeral services will be held at Larkin Mortuary located at 260 E South Temple St. Salt Lake City, UT 84111. A viewing will be held on Thursday, 10/6/2022, from 6-8pm and on Friday, 10/7/2022, from 12-2pm. Funeral services will be held on Friday, 10/7/2022, at 2pm. Darryl would be honored to have donations made in his name to the Granite Education Foundation.
DR. Thomas was a good friend. He was a stauch supporter of Academic Games. We loved him.
I am so sorry to hear of Darryl's passing. We both attended West High, played in Dalby's boys band, also were in the UofU marching band. We had many a good laugh about our senior class English teacher, and most importantly, Darryl was always a true gentleman. In later years, our paths did not cross very often, but nonetheless he will be missed. God grant him peace and a most rewarding continued journey.
Darryl was my AP Calculus teacher at East High School in 1972/73. I remember him as very competent, proficient and kind. He helped me prepare for my career as an actuary.
I spent many years working with Dr. Thomas in the National Academic League program in Granite District. This meant, of course, that I knew his competitive nature and his keen intelligence well. But it also meant that I spent a fair number of Lagoon Days witnessing him coax our junior high team members to go on the most extreme rides Lagoon had to offer, all while he told them stories of more dramatic roller coasters he had conquered elsewhere. He was truly an adrenaline junkie. ;)
He will be long remembered by the students who played on teams from numerous years.
Darryl was probably the smartest person I ever knew. His work ethic was incredible. I also had the privilege to rub shoulders with him on a personal level and considered him a good friend. He will be missed.
Rachel, Sarah and families,
So sorry to hear of your father passing. We have fond memories of him and your mom as great loving neighbors. We send our thoughts and condolences.