Shawnee resident Don Thomas, 80, passed away Monday, May 28, 2018, in Shawnee.

Donald “Don” Thomas passed away peacefully Monday, May 28, 2018, at St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital.

He was born June 9, 1937, in Cushing to Marion and Thelma Thomas.

Don married Wilda Whipkey on Sept. 23, 1955, in Cushing. They were married 62 years and worked and made their home in Cushing where their four children were born. They moved to Shawnee in 1967 when Don went to work at the Sylvania plant. His earlier years were spent working in the oil fields.

Don was a musician at heart, a craftsman who built very fine five-string banjos, and a teacher who taught hundreds of young musicians how to play and sing harmony. He played fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, dobro, and was an undisputed master at playing the banjo. Don won countless contests at festivals all over the midwest during the '70s. He took more than one variation of his band, the Arbuckle Mountain Boys or the Arbuckles, as they came to be known, from coast to coast entertaining folks as long as he was able. Don was also a founding member of the Oklahoma Bluegrass Club.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, Wayne, Kenny, and Gary, and one sister, Alice Grace.

Those left to cherish Don’s memory are his wife, Wilda, of the home, his favorite daughter, Karen Thomas of Shawnee, three sons and spouses, Steve and Jeanne Thomas of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, David and Teresa Thomas of Wellston, and Russell and Kathy Thomas of Oklahoma City, nine grandchildren, Jeremy Thomas, Annie Wackerly, Kenny Thomas, Amber Johnson, Lauren Martin, Cindy Mason, Randy Thomas, Chloe Thomas, and Nick Thomas, and 13 great-grandchildren.

Don professed his faith at First Christian Church in Cushing in 1964.

Memorial services will be 2 p.m., Thursday, May 31, at First Christian Church in Shawnee with Rev. Ray Belford officiating.