Craig Michael Thomas
Feb. 14, 1959 – Jan. 31, 2019
Craig M. Thomas, 59, of Ninilchik, Alaska died at 3:33 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2019, at South Peninsula Hospital just two weeks shy of his 60th birthday.
He passed peacefully with his wife, Mariah Thomas-Wolf, by his side.
He was born in Schenectady, New York. Craig served as an NCO for over a decade in Germany, Texas, Washington, Alaska, and the global theater with the U.S. Army Nuclear Chemical Biological Engineers receiving his honorable discharge in December 1989.
He met his soulmate, Mariah, in 1995 while both volunteered with the 1,000 Mile Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race where he held a position on the Quest Board and as the assistant race manager for two years. They married in January 2005 at the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah while Craig was preparing to undergo heart transplant surgery.
They made their home in Ninilchik, where he worked as a heavy duty/light engine mechanic, but also accompanied his wife, an educator and school principal, across Kachemak Bay to Seldovia, the Kuskokwim village of Tuluksak, Point Hope on the North Slope, and other remote locations with their dog team. They ultimately combined their dogs with the Tuluksak School dog team to compete successfully, placing 10th, in the Centennial 2008 All Alaska Sweepstakes where Craig provided extensive snowmachine support on the 400-mile race trail from Nome to Candle and back, a mere two years after being released from the transplant facility.
Craig was an active member and Vice Commander of the American Legion Post 18 Ninilchik. Craig enjoyed community events, including volunteering at checkpoints and staking trail for the Kuskokwim 300 and Tustumena 200 sled dog races and as a Salmonstock/fest Campground Host and Beer Garden Security.
Craig was an avid outdoorsman, a skilled mechanic, and would help anyone in need. His dogs and his family and friends were important to him.
Craig is preceded by his father Walter Craig Thomas.
He is survived by his partner of 24 years, Mariah; stepson, LifeMed paramedic Zachary Dalton Wolf Schindler; son, Terry Lee Thomas, his wife Sandra and their four children; Selina and her 3-year-old son Luca; Ren’e, Denise, Vanessa, and Melinda all of Marktbreit, Germany; and daughter Jennifer Halfpap-Thomas, her husband Michael Halfpap and their three children, Andre Thomas, and Alisha and Aliyah Halfpap of Marktsteft, Germany.
He is also survived by his his mother, Colleen Patricia Simmons of New York; sister, Lisa Thomas-Sachar, her husband Phil Sachar and their son Damien Sachar of Arizona; sister, Kelly Best, her husband Walter Best and their children Adrian and Tiffany Lynn Best of New York; and his four remaining beloved sled dogs Bud, Seed, Lupa, and Bishop.
Catholic services, military honors, and a celebration of life will be announced and held at a later date in Ninilchik, as well as a Native American ceremony in Homer to send him home.