Yales Domes Thomas, beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away peacefully in the hospital, with family by his side, on Monday December 21, 2020, from complications related to COVID-19. Yale was 84 years young.
Yale's life began in Lovell, Wyoming where he was born on November 5, 1936; he was the third of six children born to his parents Parker Emanuel and Wilhelmine (Mimi) Heiss Thomas. Yale loved growing up in Wyoming and would often share his fond memories of life on his grandfather's farm where he embraced the great outdoors and learned the value of hard work. Yale was also a golden gloves boxing champion and was known to get into a bit of mischief around town with his older sister Charmaine.
When Yale was a teen, the family relocated to Salt Lake City, UT, where Yale quickly became the the epitome of cool as a student at East High School. As the story goes, Yale arrived to town with the most impressive, fully customized (all his own work of course) Ford anyone had ever seen. Coming from Wyoming, Yale had already earned his driver's license and he drove circles around those city slickers, before they had even secured a learner’s permit! Yale loved to recall his times at East High, where he turned in his cowboy boots for Jansen Sweaters and Florsheim shoes and swapped riding horses for dragging State Street in his chop top car.
At the age of 18, Yale was drafted into the Korean war and served in U.S. Air Force where he flew cargo planes. Following his service he married his first wife Dee, and they had three sons together. Yale also continued racing cars (hoping to become a pro) as well as designing and installing upholstery for custom cars. Over time, Yale came to realize that racing cars was not the most conducive career to raising a family. He made the decision to pivot and, as the son of trucker, he was no stranger to “Freightliner Fever” which prompted him to initiate his career in long haul trucking. His second wife Rita. was his trucking partner in the early days where they shared many long haul adventures, as well as having two daughters together.
Yale's passion for trucking never waned and his namesake trucking company Yaleway Transportation, was renowned for its ability to haul it "higher, wider, heavier, faster" for nearly 40 years. Yale left his mark on Salt Lake City by delivering much of the steel that went into making the Salt Lake City skyline as we know it today.
Yale was an unflappable man, who rarely concerned himself with rules or convention. He lived life his way, on his terms, and never apologized for who he was. He took great pride in his family and was always bragging about his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He valued hard work, and rarely gave in to adversity, believing a solution existed regardless of the challenge. He inspired others with his determination and zest for life. His legacy to Keep on Trucking will live on among all who knew him!
Yale was preceded in death by his parents; his five siblings, Delano, Charmaine, Nora, Darla and David; his two ex-spouses, Dolores (Dee) Thomas and Rita Boyer; his son Chad; and his great grandson Theo . He is survived by his five children, Scott (Kim) Thomas, Troy Thomas, Courtney Thomas, Sascha (Joel) Jarrard, and Brittney (Jason) Baker as well as ten grandchildren, Tosh, Monica, Brandon, Sheltcey, Ashley, Alexandra, Zach, Nicole, Khloe and Bon and 8 great grandchildren.
A viewing will be on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. To ensure compliance with current social distancing guidelines, we kindly ask that you call the funeral parlor at (801) 474-9119 to make a reservation between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday. The courtesy of wearing a mask is required. A small graveside memorial for close friends and family will be held the following day at the Utah Veteran's Cemetery and Memorial Park.
A larger celebration of life will take place later this year when it is safe to gather en masse, formal announcement and details to follow.