There were a lot of smiles and laughter, as well as a few tears, as family and friends remembered special members of the Malad community at the 5th annual induction ceremony for the Oneida County Hall of Fame. Those honored this year were Stan and Erma Thomas, Dennis and Brenda Thomas and Conrad C. Alder.
Emcee for the event was Darl Gleed, Hall of Fame committee chairman. He explained that in 2008, in response to a grass roots endeavor, the Oneida School Board appointed a citizens committee to establish a local Hall of Fame for citizens of Oneida County who had achieved success and had brought honor to themselves and their community in specific areas such as athletics, the arts, business, public service and education. The ultimate desire of the committee was, that in paying tribute to these honorees, their achievements would serve as a vision and inspiration to Oneida County’s young people. To that end, two walls in the Malad High School have been dedicated for the display of plaques of those who have been honored each year since 2009.
Conrad C. Alder
A member of the American Legion for 64 years, Con Alder served as its Chaplain for 10 years. He was a member of the U.S. Air Force and a veteran of World War II. Among other things, Con was a member of the Malad City Council, Oneida County Hospital Board, and secretary for the Samaria Grazing Association for 33 years, also serving on their Board of Directors. He served as Oneida County Commissioner for 16 years and was a member of the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments’ Board of Directors, District V Chairman of the Idaho Association of Counties and a member of the Local Highway Needs Assessment Council and the Bear River Development Task Force. He was also active in the LDS Church, serving as Bishop, High Councilman and many other callings in his church.
Present for his induction were his four children, Alyce, Marsha, Con T. and Scott.
Helen Ward presented a piano medley of songs that were popular in the 1940’s, ending with the U.S. Air Force song, “Wild Blue Yonder”. Don Buehler, a member of the Hall of Fame committee, read two letters of tribute, one from fellow commissioner, Gene Edwards, and the other from Gene Caldwell with whom Alder has served in the American Legion. Buehler told of a personal experience and indicated that Alder was “a huge influence in my life as a young man.”
Con Alder spoke, thanking the committee for this honor and saying that it was 64 years in January that he and Roma Gene moved to Malad and they enjoyed making there home in Oneida County.
Marsha Jones remarked of her father that she “appreciated Dad’s work ethic, his honesty and his testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Stanley and Erma Thomas and Dennis and Brenda Thomas
Besides operating the local grocery store in Malad for almost 30 years where they taught a great work ethic to their children and the employees that worked for them, the Thomas’ gave of their time to the community. Stan Thomas was a member of the Malad Chamber of Commerce and Fraternal Order of Eagles. He also served on the Oneida County Fair Board and the Oneida County Hospital Board. He donated to the local schools and purchased 4-H cattle and sheep at the Oneida County Fair auction. Erma Thomas, besides working in the store, served as a teacher in the Primary in the LDS Church for over 30 years. The Thomas’ raised 8 children, Nancy, David, Dennis, Marvin, Ann, Connie, Tim and Ned.
Dennis and Brenda Thomas were married in 1968, after which Dennis served in Vietnam in the U.S. Army from 1968-1970. They took over the grocery store in Malad after Stanley’s death in 1977 and Dennis’ mother, Erma, continued to work at the store until her death in 1997.
Dennis served with the Malad Volunteer Fire Department for 24 years, including two terms as Fire Chief. Thomas Market funds two scholarships annually for Malad High School graduates and Dennis and Brenda continued his parents’ tradition of purchasing 4-H livestock at the Oneida County Fair Fat Stock Sale. Both Dennis and Brenda were members of the Malad Valley Welsh Society and supported the Welsh Festival. They were honored as Grand Marshals of the 2010 Malad 4th of July parade. Dennis tragically died in an accident at the store in 2012.
Dennis and Brenda’s son, Jerry, took over ownership of the store in 2009. Brenda continues to work with her son at the store.
Harry Sherman presented a musical tribute he wrote to the Thomas family entitled “Small Town Grocery Man”.
A letter of tribute from the Associated Food Stores to the Thomas family was read and a letter of tribute from Bradley Hess to Dennis Thomas was read regarding his service to the Malad Volunteer Fire Department.
Brenda Thomas spoke, thanking the Thomas family for their support of her. “I am so fortunate to be a part of the wonderful Thomas family where I was taught about hard work, long hours and doing things the right way,” she said. Jerry Thomas thanked his parents saying, “What a wonderful heritage they have left for me. Thanks to my mom, my number one helper.”
Dotty Evanson, a member of the Hall of Fame committee, then told a story of her remembrance of Stan and Erma Thomas and their children, specifically their daughter, Ann, who was her classmate.
Ann Ward spoke and indicated, “My dad was the toughest boss I ever worked for.” She said that her parents gave service because they loved this community so much.
A roast beef dinner was catered by Marla Jones and the evening ended with all present singing the Malad High School song and “Here We Have Idaho”.