James A. Thomas, age 77, former resident of Cambridge Springs, PA, died Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at Wesbury Methodist Community in Meadville following an extended illness. Born in Clymer, New York on March 21, 1933, he was a son of the late Milton I. Thomas and Maude Bunting Thomas. He married the former Janice Jones on August 29, 1959 and she survives.

Thomas, James A.James had three well defined, successful careers. His first career was with the military beginning at the age of 14 in 1947 and extending for 46 years until 1993. The first seven years Jim served in the enlisted ranks in the PA National Guard, the US Marine Corps, and the US Air Force. In 1955, Jim was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and in 1956 as a First Lieutenant serving in the US Air Force Reserve until 1968. In 1968 he was promoted to Major and was mainly assigned to work in security and law enforcement in the US Air Force for most of his military service. In 1977 he attained the rank of Lt. Col and in 1981 the rank of Colonel. From 1982 until his retirement in 1993, Jim was assigned as MA Director of Information Security Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The second career choice that Jim made was in education. Over the years he received a Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Education Degree from Edinboro University. He also received advanced education from New York State University, Fredonia University, Penn State University, as well as the Air War College while in the service. Concurrent with serving in the military, Jim found time to become a teacher and principal. As a elementary teacher, he taught from 1963 until 1966 and was a principal from 1972 to 1976 at Union City, at Jamestown, NY, and at Salisbury, PA each for several years. From 1976 until 1982 he was Assistant Superintendent at Commodore Perry School District. From 1982 until 1993 he was employed by the Defense Investigative Service in Cleveland, Ohio. Then for two years he was the Assistant Secondary School Principal for the Conneaut School District.

Jim’s third career choice was working as special investigator for both the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This brought Jim to his final retirement in 2005.

In addition to being a member at Pleasantview Alliance Church of Saegertown, Jim’s memberships included – a lifetime member of American Legion Post #381 of Cambridge Springs, the Military Officers Association of Crawford and Erie counties; the Young Warriors (for those who entered the military underage); and the Reserve Officers Association Department of Central PA, Chapter #11.

Surviving Jim, in addition to his wife- Janice, now living in Meadville; are two sons – James Thomas, Jr. of Cambridge Springs; and Jeffrey Thomas of Ravenna, Ohio; a daughter – Jill Cantelupe and her husband, Vince of Richmond, VA; three grandchildren – James Thomas III of Meadville; Leah Gallagher and her husband, Mike of Camp Hill, PA; and Michelle Cantelupe of Richmond, VA; three brothers – Paul Thomas and his wife, Dorothy of Union City; Joseph Thomas and his wife, Betsy of Doylestown, PA; and Stanley Thomas and his wife, Roberta of Springboro, PA. Jim was preceded in death by two brothers – David and John and two sisters – Virginia and Vivian.

Friends may call at the Van Matre Family Funeral Home in Cambridge Springs on Friday from 6-9 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the Pleasantview Alliance Church on Saturday, May 15th at 11:00 a.m. with Reverend Pjecha, pastor, officiating. A calling hour will be observed from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. Interment will be in Miller Station Cemetery. Full military honors will be rendered.