James “Jim” Donald Thomas, professor emeritus of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, died on Aug. 26, 2019, at his home surrounded by his family in Redlands after a battle with myeloid leukemia. He was 90.
He was born in 1929 in Greeley, Colorado, to Mary Josephine Thomas and James Jones Thomas.The family moved to San Bernardino in 1936.
Jim Thomas graduated from St. Bernardine High School in 1947, attended San Bernardino Valley College, and then served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1951.
Thomas married Geraldine K. Shea and they settled in Rialto, where they raised four daughters. During that time, he received his doctorate in government from Claremont Graduate School after conducting research in India, studying the Indian Constituent Assembly.
He began his teaching career at San Bernardino Valley College in 1961. He also taught at University of California, Santa Barbara, and Loyola University. In 1968, Thomas became an assistant professor of political science and associate dean of academic administration.
The following year he became the dean of academic administration. In 1974, he was awarded full professorship of political science. In 1976, Thomas married Arlene Roberts and they lived in Apple Valley. Thomas became a widower in 1988. Some years later, Thomas bought and rebuilt a cabin in Forest Falls.
Thomas met Avis Taylor in 1998 and they married in 2001. He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Avis Taylor; his daughters Rosemary Thomas, Peggy Thomas Williams (husband Evan), Patricia Thomas, Teresa Thomas; stepsons Jerome Roberts and Boyd Roberts; grandchildren Colin Williams (wife Chrys Baldonado), Eileen Williams, Elizabeth Thomas, Thomas Roberts, Cole Roberts and Morgan Roberts; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Betty Jean Fletcher. Thomas also is survived by the children of Avis Taylor; Edward Taylor (wife Peri Fletcher), Catherine Taylor, Mary Taylor Asarnow (husband David); and their respective children Sebastian Fletcher-Taylor, Julian Fletcher-Taylor, Daniel Asarnow, Elizabeth Asarnow and Sarah Asarnow.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Cortner Chapel, 221 Brookside Ave., Redlands. A reception will follow at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, formerly Sacred Heart Church, 115 W. Olive Ave.