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David Chandler Thomas

07/27/1954 - 12/28/2021
Service Date: 01/06/2022
Service Time: 11:00 AM
Service Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - 920 S. Lindsay Road, Mesa, Az 85204
Visitation Date: 01/05/2022
Visitation Time: 5:00 PM - 7:00PM
Visitation Location: Bunker's Garden Chapel - 33 N. Centennial Way, Mesa, Arizona 85201
Interment: City of Mesa Cemetery

David Chandler Thomas, 67, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, after a long illness on Tuesday, December 28, 2021, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was born on July 27, 1954, in Phoenix, Arizona and was a lifelong and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. David graduated from Arcadia High School in 1972 and served in the Australia Brisbane Mission from 1973 to 1975.

David married Gayle Bradshaw on May 14, 1976 in the Mesa Arizona Temple, the foundation of 45 years of blissful marriage. While a student, he founded an accounting software company, the first in a 25-year entrepreneurial career took the family to Los Gatos, California in 1998. David began a second career by completing his education with a BA and MA from San Jose State University and a Ph.D. from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He taught and researched as an economist and associate professor at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana for over six years.

David’s curiosity led to broad and varied interests. He created computer games, wrote music, and cooked with flair, creating dozens of recipes. He valued his family’s heritage, tracing their path from Wales to Alberta to Arizona, and eventually gained British citizenship. He was a diligent academic, working on several economics papers at a time. He enjoyed basketball, playing the guitar and singing with his children and grandchildren, painting, woodworking, studying the gospel of Jesus Christ and the scriptures, and learning of all kinds. His greatest joy was his family, delighting in his wife, his children, their spouses, and his grandchildren.

David is survived by his wife Gayle, their children Gordon, Laura (Brock) Lyle, Karren (Bruce) Christensen, Stuart (Barb), and Allison, and ten grandchildren; also brother John (Madge) Thomas and sisters Mary (Russ) Nielson, Carol (David) Herring, Helen (Artie) Hancock, Margaret (Larry) Manning, and Martha (Doug) Moyer. He was predeceased by his parents, Harold Karren “Jack” Thomas and Ada Dorene Parkinson Thomas, and brothers Charles “Chuck”, Stephen, and Richard.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, January 5, from 5 to 7 pm at Bunker’s Garden Chapel, 33 N. Centennial Way in Mesa, Arizona. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 6 at 11 am, preceded by a visitation at 10 am, at the Lindsay & Pueblo building, 920 South Lindsay Road in Mesa. Burial will be in the Mesa Cemetery.

Arrangements by Bunker’s Garden Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.


  • Ailesia Franklin

    Dr. Thomas was a very kind and well-liked Professor in our Department. His kindness and smile will be greatly missed by our staff, Faculty and students.

  • David was a teacher, scholar and true colleague. I was privileged to know him and work with him. He will be sorely missed in Department of Economics here at Ball State. My deepest sympathies to his best friend, wife Gayle, who is beloved by all of us. God’s peace, blessings and grace be with you all all your family as you celebrate the life of this remarkable man.

  • I got to know David shortly after he arrived at Ball State. It was an honor to work with him.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed!

  • Austin Middleton

    David always had a kind word and encouragment as we worked our way through the PhD program at George Mason; Tuesday and Thursday morning coffees were spent talking in Enterprise hall before our classes as Graduate Lecturers. I later learned he’d been unwell, but you never would have known it from that knowing smile he always wore. Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei: requiescat in pace. Amen.

  • I met David in 2015 as a member of the Ball State University (BSU) hiring committee. I was ill at the time, but was able to participate in David’s interview with the committee by telephone. When David left the room following the interview for a tenure-track position, I expressed the opinion that the Economics Dept. at BSU should “Hire him immediately.” For reasons I never understood, other members of the committe did not agree and David was, that year, was hired only into a contract-faculty position (non-tenure track). Fortunately, two years later, in 2017, David’s performance validated my 2015 recommendation — David had earned a tenure-track position at Ball State, based on a publication in 2016 (“Can Sticky Consumption Cause Business Cycles”) and the large number of high-quality working papers that he had produced (while simultaneously carrying the heavier, contract-faculty teaching load and getting excellent teaching evaluations). I relate this story, because it reveals not only the quality of David’s research and teaching, but also his optimism, his tenacity, and resilience in the face of disappointment (at not getting the tenure-track position in 2015). None of this will surprise anyone who knew David as a close friend or colleague. Despite David’s progressive illness over the past 3 year, he was well on his way to earning early tenure at Ball State as a result of, to date, having compiled seven additional refereed journal publications. Additionally, I expect to see several of David’s co-authored (unpublished) working papers become published in the near future. David’s second career was successful and his research, I expect, will have increasing impact as more of it emerges and as more people become aware of it. As David’s main research collaborator, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share in his success. As David’s close friend, I am deeply saddened by his death.

  • I met David through his daughter Karren, a former roommate and one of my best friends. David was a larger than life man, who shared and laughed and talked and loved brilliantly and fiercely. I knew that from the role he played in the life of his strong and loving children and from the kindnesses he showed toward me. I was inspired by his willingness to pivot in life and create a new career with big dreams (huge dreams!). His choices changed mine, for the better. I know he was and is deeply loved, and I know the world is better for the life of David Thomas. My deepest prayers for you, Thomases!

  • He intercepted us on our way to Nicaragua and treated us all to a great dinner. What a nice and kind man, who was apparently also a very smart and hard-working and virtuous man. I love his kids.

  • John and Lori Ann Horowitz

    David was a great teacher, scholar, and renaissance man. We very much enjoyed talking to him about his various research projects, teaching innovations, and artistic creations. We were very impressed with Gayle’s and his optimism and endurance as they dealt with David’s health difficulties. Our prayers and best wishes to the whole family.

  • David was a great teacher, scholar, and renaissance man. We very much enjoyed talking to him about his various research projects, teaching innovations, and artistic creations. We were very impressed with Gayle’s and his optimism and endurance as they dealt with David’s health difficulties. Our prayers and best wishes to the whole family.

  • Very sad to hear of Mr. Thomas passing. He and his wife would stop in our office on Ball State campus and we enjoyed their conversations and the love they showed each other. He will be missed.

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