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Laura Irene Thomas, age 73, of Liberal, MO died Monday, June 25, 2012 at Hospice House in Kansas City, MO.

Irene was born November 5, 1938 in Lamar, MO to Frank and Bessie (Creamer) Bunton.  She was a graduate of Liberal High School.  On May 17, 1958 she married Don A. Thomas in Miami, OK. Together they raised two daughters.  She and Don bought Liberal Produce in 1969 which later led to Seed & Farm Supply.  When Don died suddenly in a plane crash in 1977, Irene took over and managed the business with help from her brothers and later her nephew, until her retirement in 2011.

Irene coordinated bringing the Red Cross Bloodmobile to Liberal over 40 years ago.    She was a 4-H leader for over 15 years in Barton County and Shiloh.  She was instrumental in the formation of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, which later became the Liberal Civic Group.  She was a member of the Hannon Free Will Baptist Church and served as a Sunday school teacher of pre-schoolers for more than 15 years.  She led the children’s and youth choir and directed the Christmas program as recent as 2011. She was involved in the mission outreach group (Women Active For Christ), and Vacation Bible School.  In April of 2012 she was awarded the “Volunteer Spirit of the Year” by the Barton County Chamber of Commerce.

Irene leaves behind two daughters; Vicki and her husband, Steve Davis of Lamar, and Denise and her husband Jeff  Phillippi of Olathe, KS; six grandchildren; Ashley & Josh Negron of Joplin, MO, Jo & Ben Cross of Louisville, KY, Kelly Davis of Lamar, MO, Caleb, Logan & Jacob Phillippi of Olathe, KS; one great grandchild, Stephen Phillippi of Olathe, KS; and three sisters-in-law, Mardeane & her husband Lloyd Hummer of Wichita, KS; Ruth Bunton of Lamar, MO and Virginia Bunton of Liberal, MO.

Irene was preceded in death by her parents, husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law, Dean & Marge Thomas, (her second set of parents); and two brothers, Don and Lee Bunton.

Funeral services will be 11:00 am Friday June 29, 2012 at Daniel Funeral Home with Matt Proctor officiating.  A private family burial will follow the service. 

Irene enjoyed visiting with many friends in April at her retirement party and no visitation is scheduled. Friends may pay their respects on Thursday until 6 pm at the funeral home.

Contributions are suggested to Hospice House of Kansas City, Ozark Christian College or Red Cross Bloodmobile, all in care of Daniel Funeral Home.

Comments  

#19 Goodman MORita Borghardt Clark 2012-07-30 17:52
Denise,
So sorry to hear about your mom. She was a great lady. We will miss her and you have our sympathy.
Sincerely,
Rita
#18 Girard, KansasKimbra Kirby Brunk 2012-07-04 08:16
Vicki and Denise,
I am so sad that you had to say goodbye to your mom. The picture of her made me smile and remember the happy years and good times with her in Sunday School and Church, school activities, 4-H and staying the night at your house. She was a gracious hostess and a friend to all who knew her. I know my mom misses her greatly too. Sincerely, Kimbra
#17 Arma, Ks.Kay and Joe Gobl 2012-06-29 20:55
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Irene was a very kind and dear person who was loved by all. We always enjoyed doing business with Irene. She had so any friends and will be sadly missed by all. Sincere Sympathy,Kay and Joe Gobl
#16 Max and Linda Muirheid 2012-06-29 08:37
Our deepest sympathy.
#15 Tulsa, OKMax and Linda Muirheid 2012-06-29 08:35
We always enjoyed working with Irene and are sorry she did not have more retirement years to enjoy. You have our deepest sympathy for your loss.
#14 Liberal, MOLeota and Jim McClendon 2012-06-29 07:14
Our deepest sympathy to all the family. Irene was a very special person and we know God has a special place for her at His side in heaven. It was a privelage to know her and do business with her all the years. God Bless her and now she is His to keep. Leota and Jim
#13 Liberal MoLonnie & Lora McWilliams 2012-06-29 06:46
Vicki & Denise,

We are so saddened to hear of your mom's passing. We have missed seeing her pull in the drive next door and taking care of things at your grandma's house and stopping to visit for a little bit. I remember spending Saturday's at your house working on our projects for 4-H. We will all miss her but she is rejoicing in Heaven now and we can take comfort in that. May you find peace and comfort knowing she is not suffering anymore.
#12 Maysville, ARElmer Peachey 2012-06-28 19:26
To the family of Irene Thomas,
I extend my sympathy to you in the passing of Irene. She was a great person to work with, as I hauled many loads of grain for her. We will miss her much.

Sincerely,
Elmer from Peachey Transport
#11 Nevada, MOWilliam and Mary Lynn Wille 2012-06-28 11:38
Denise and family,
Our hearts ache for you during this time of sadness. Please know we are thinking of you.

Love and God's peace,
William and Mary Lynn
#10 Batesville, ARWanda Grimes 2012-06-28 07:50
Sorry to hear of Irene's passing. I only talked with her on the phone. I work for Jerry Hayes and he bought corn
from Irene. As many others have said,
she was a gracious lady and a pleasure to do business with.
Our condolences go to the family.

Wanda Grimes
Jerry Hayes

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