Cover photo for Frank Milton Thomas's Obituary
1939 Frank 2024

Frank Milton Thomas

February 7, 1939 — January 22, 2024


Frank Milton Thomas,83, passed peacefully, with family by his side, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, at the Benion Veterans Home in Payson, Utah. He was born Feb. 7, 1939, in La Habra, California, to Loys ‘Buck’ Franklin Thomas and Bonnie ‘Irene’ Jenson. Frank had one older brother, Wayne, and two younger brothers, Dan and Ed. 

 Frank was raised in the Orange County, California, area as his parents moved every couple of years for work. Frank had a wonderful childhood trapping skunks, playing in the wooded areas and orange groves nearby with his brothers, Wayne and Dan.

In school he participated in the FFA, raising Hampshire hogs and Hereford steers. He found his passion for art while drawing horses; he loved to draw horses. 

He started courting Patreecia his senior year, in 1956. They went to the beach a lot, at least once a week, and Knotts Berry Farm. 

Frank was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Oct. 1, 1959. He married his darling sweetheart Patreecia Leavitt Thomas on Sept. 17, 1960, in the Los Angeles LDS Temple. They were married for 57 years, until her death on Oct 18, 2017. 

Frank attended Chaffey College in Ontario, California, studying art and English in 1957. Patreecia and Frank then moved to Provo, Utah, where they started their family - having Charles and Kelly as Frank attended college at Brigham University and graduated in 1964. 

They moved to Beaver, Utah, where Frank took a teaching position. He was then assigned as a 2nd Lt. in the local Utah National Guard Unit. In 1966, Frank was stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, where his third child, Becky, was born. Shortly after her birth, he was called to active duty in 1967.

Frank served as a 9th Infantry Division Field Artillery Firing Battery Executive Officer in combat against Viet Cong, along the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam. His tour was radically changed as he was selected by the U.S. Army Center of Military History to serve as a Combat Artist Leader, of two combat art teams and promoted to First Lieutenant. Following, Vietnam Frank returned home, becoming a realtor in Panguitch, Utah, moving to Holden, Utah, as a Realtor in business; and returned to teaching, this time in Delta. He continued to paint in his Wild Goose Creek Studio in Holden, Utah; and serving in the Army Reserve and Utah National Guard. Frank and Patreecia had two more children Daniel and Jamie Dawn, during this time. 

 In 1991 Frank was then called to active duty in the Persian Gulf as an official U.S. Army Combat Artist for Operation Desert Storm to immortalize our U.S. soldiers at their finest. After 31 years of uniformed service, Frank retired as Lt. Colonel, Army of the United States. He is the only artist known to have served as U.S. Combat Artist in two wars. 

 Franks sketches and large canvas paintings of Vietnam and Desert Storm are part of the Army’s collection in Washington D.C. and the Library of Congress. In addition to the military paintings, Frank painted two murals commemorating Utah’s 100 years of statehood, numerous LDS depictions of the Mormon Pioneers, Native American Indians, and wildlife. Frank received many accolades for his service and life’s work. Frank and Patreecia faithfully served two LDS missions to Cove Fort, Utah and Kirkland, Ohio. If you were to ask Frank, these missions would have been his greatest accomplishments, outside of his family.

He is survived by his five children: (Charles (Sarah Hubbell)Thomas of Baker City, Oregon; Kelly (Alberto) Vargas of Henderson, Nevada; Becky (David) O’Neill of Hayden, Idaho; Daniel (Sandy) Thomas of Holden, Utah; Jamie (Brian) Durrant of Evanston, Wyoming.

 20 grandchildren: Hunter (Tanner McBride) Thomas, Drake & Zander Harper, Ciara (Kevin) Slider, Shae (Ben) Pesceone, Christian (Karissa Beesley) Vargas, Alexis (Rob) Squire, Thomas (Amanda) O’Neill, Ellie (Wade) McGinnis, Megan (Andrew) Hill, Jeffrey (Destany) Thomas, Rashae (Alonso Chavez) Thomas, Stephanie Thomas, Aaron (Maycee Durrant) Thomas, Aubrey, Kallum & Kipton MacDougall, Shyanne, Sheridan & Madison Durrant.

9 great grandchildren: Sawyer and Harper Slider, Cory Pesceone, Aria, Quinn and Bria O’Neill, Brecken Thomas, Dreyvan, Demi and Drew Chavez;

One brother, Wayne (Ramona) Thomas, brother in-law David (Robert   Balthasar) Leavitt; and two sister in-laws, Bonnie Havens, and Betty (Clair) Havens. 

He is preceded in death by his sweetheart, Patreecia Leavitt Thomas; 4 brothers, Daniel ‘Dan’ Louis Thomas, Edward ‘Eddie’ Alan Thomas, Lamar Havens, Wayne Leavitt; and his parents, Buck and Irene Thomas.

Funeral Services will be held Saturday, February 3, 2024 at 11:00 AM in the Holden Ward Chapel.  A viewing will be held prior to the funeral from 9:00 to 10:30 AM also in the Holden Ward Chapel.  Interment will be at the Holden Town Cemetery with Military Honors under the care of Olpin Stevens Funeral  Online condolences can be offered at  The funeral will be streamed and available at this link:

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Saturday, February 3, 2024

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Saturday, February 3, 2024

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Saturday, February 3, 2024

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