Ernest A. Thomas II, "Ernie", age 75, of El Dorado Springs, Missouri, passed away on
December 9, 2022, after a several-year struggle with inoperable brain cancer. Ernie
was born August 28, 1947, to Ernest "Arvel" and Loreen Thomas in Santa Maria,
California. He spent most of his life in southern and central California where he and
his family attended the First Assembly of God church, participating particularly in
music ministry. Ernie was an avid student of the Bible himself, having been raised
by a strong woman of faith and sharing his mother's unwavering love for Jesus. He
also had a great love for the ocean his entire life and loved spending time at the beaches.
Ernie joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and completed his high school education
while in the service, graduating from his hometown high school, Santa Marie High.
He was on aircraft carriers for four tours in Vietnam in 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968.
He was proud to have been of service to his country which he loved so much. After
being discharged from the Navy, Ernie went back to school, attending Riverside
Community College, eventually transferred to and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis
Obispo in 1975, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. He continued
with postgraduate work for a Master's in business through Pepperdine University.
Straight out of college Ernie was employed by Safeco Insurance Company for over 25
years, being responsible for offices in Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and California,
retiring as a Regional Claims Manager. After retirement he dabbled in private
insurance business with friends. Ernie enjoyed day-trading and participated in it for
While residing in Phoenix, Arizona, Ernie met his wife Margaret (Peggy) Bishop. They
married in 1984 and had two children, Dane Michauel and Alexandra Elizabeth.
Ernie's longtime dream was to own a ranch and raise cattle. He did extensive
demographic research and decided at the age of 60 that he and Peggy would move
to El Dorado Springs, Missouri in March of 2007 so he could fulfill that dream. He
also got certified to teach while living in "Eldo" and taught biology, chemistry, and
forensic science at the local high school for several years. He really enjoyed those
"kids" and spoke of them often and fondly.
Ernie lived his dream. He loved God, his family, and his country. He passed from this
world on December 9, 2022, with his wife Peggy by his side. Ernie was preceded in
death by his parents, and two brothers-in-law, Bill Montello and Bill Ward, both of
Santa Maria, California. He is survived by his wife, Peggy (Margaret) of 38 years, his
son Dane Thomas (Emily) of Hemet, California, two granddaughters, his daughter
Alexandra of Park City, Utah, two sisters, Linda Ward and Jackie Montello of Santa
Maria, California, and numerous other family members, in-laws, and lifelong friends.