American Veteran 04

William Lester Thoms

March 4, 1934 ~ January 20, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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William Lester Thoms, 88, of Salem passed away at 1:27 pm, Friday, January 20, 2023 at the Salem Township Hospital in Salem.

William was born on March 4, 1934, in Kinmundy, the son of Elliot and Florence (McCulley) Thoms. William left high school to serve his country in the Navy until he returned home and married the love of his life, Sheila Pickel, on October 18, 1954, in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.  They shared 50 years of marriage, having 7 children, before she preceded him in death on March 21, 2005.  During his lifetime, William worked for the railroad for 10 years and oil fields for 15 years and later moved to St. Louis to take care of apartment buildings.  William was a huge fan of football and you often caught him watching a game while building bird houses or putting a puzzle together.  He loved spending time with family, cooking, and playing cards.    

William was a loving husband, father, and grandfather who will be greatly missed.  

William is survived by his children: Paula (Frank) Gibson of Salem, Lisa (Curt) Ballance of Huntsville, AL, Cheryl Thoms of St. Louis, MO, Steve (Lisa) Thoms of Reno, NV, Kenneth (Carla) Thoms of Iuka, Robert (Pam) Thoms of Lafayette, LA; 11 grandchildren; several great grandchildren. He is also survived by a sister: Carol Bass of Salem. 

William was preceded in death by his parents; wife: Sheila Thoms; daughter: Barbara Tabor; brother-in-law: Roy Bass.

It was William’s wishes for cremation and a private grave side service with family. The McGriff Funeral Home in Kinmundy is assisting the family with the arrangements. To sign the guestbook online or share a memory of William, please visit 

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