Thomas, David William

David William Thomas, Major, USAF (Retired)
February 16, 1932 – December 13, 2012

NASHUA, NH – David William Thomas, 80, of Nashua passed away on December 13, 2012, at the Community Hospice House in Merrimack after a long illness.

David was born in Kirkland, WA., son of the late Henry and Grace (Erikson) Thomas.

Dave received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Washington State University and a master’s in systems management from University of Southern California. He served 20 years as an Air Force test pilot in both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, including a combat tour in Southeast Asia flying the A-1 Skyraider. His flying continued with the FAA, where he helped certify S-61 composite rotor blades that are now used on the Presidential helicopter fleet. He concluded his flying career as a consultant test pilot with over 9,000 flying hours in 76 types of aircraft and across six continents. Dave was awarded Fellow to the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in 2008 and was also active in the USAF Helicopter Pilot Association and Quiet Birdmen Society.

He was predeceased by a brother, Donald Thomas.

Dave is survived by his longtime friend Cappy Orr; Cameron and Loni Thomas of Amherst; Paige and Matthew Galvin of Park City, Utah; four grandchildren, Clayton and Caiden Thomas, and Colin and Molly Grace Galvin; a sister, Margaret Buxton of Renton, Wash.; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial calling hours will be held on Dec. 16 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Rivet Funeral Home, 425 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack. A service will be held in the funeral home chapel at 2 p.m. Interment will be on Monday, December 17, at 12:30 p.m. at the N.H. State Veterans Cemetery, 110 Daniel Webster Highway, Boscawen.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in David’s name to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, 115 Broadway, Suite 1301, New York, NY 10006, or the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Attn.: Executive Director’s Office, 801, 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006.

For more information, and to sign an online register book, visit

Published in Union Leader on December 15, 2012

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