The Jeffery’s family
Tomas Milton Jeffery was born in Sturgis, Michigan to Pauline and
Charles Jeffery in 1933. Aside from being a local high school football hero,
his life was fairly typical of any boy raised in the Midwest at this time.
However, unlike the majority of his peers, with the assistance of the love
of his life, Joyce, he was able to overcome his early small town
conditioning to become a world citizen.
Jeffery – 1933-2007 – A husband, father and friend.
At the age of 21 he and Joyce opened a small grocery store in Mendon,
Michigan. Both of his sons, Scott Thomas and Tobin Dean were born in Mendon.
Despite his early programming to the contrary, by diligent effort at keeping
an open mind, he eventually reached the conclusion that all men were indeed
created equal. This process was greatly enhanced by moving away from Sturgis
to Scottsdale, Arizona starting, what would become the pattern of his life,
travel. In Scottsdale and his first daughter, Julee Dawn was born.
He and his family then moved to California where he became he became a
talented bakery chef, an executive chef and restaurant manager while living
across the freeway from Disneyland. Here his second daughter, Tomisanne M.
was born. It was here that Tomas was exposed to a plethora of new people and
ideas that broadened his scope and understanding of life. It was also during
this era that Tomas and Joyce became interested in and adopted certain
aspects of Asian culture. This led to the creation of his and Joyce‘s
‘Dragon House’ residence in a Silverado Canyon in the Southern California
foothills reflecting their admiration of this culture. Tomas and Joyce
raised their four children in the canyon for the next nine years while
beginning their exploration of Mexico. During this period Tomas and Joyce
explored upper Baja California including Tijuana, Ensenada, San Quitin and
San Felipe. Once their interest had been piqued they and their children
continued exploring old Mexico including Bahia Kino, San Carlos, Guaymas,
Mazatlan, San Blas culminating with Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco.
While continuing this exploration they survived a number of the natural
disasters to which California is prone, including Santa Anna winds dropping
a 100 foot Sycamore tree on their home, the floods of ’69 washing away a
portion of their home as well as experiencing various forest fires and
earthquakes over those years.
At age 35, Tomas & Joyce packed up their kids and headed for Guadalajara,
Mexico to live. They opened the successful “La Posada Antigua” restaurant in
the Zona Rosa of Guadalajara and worked and lived there for the next several
years. After closing La Posada Antigua, Tomas and his family returned to the
US to manage the Lake James Country Club and Golf Course in Angola, Indiana
followed by the Sturgis Elks Club back in his home town. After a year or so
in Michigan, his wanderlust reasserted itself and the family returned to
Arizona to manage the Americana Hotel in Nogales living there while his
children finished school. Then he and Joyce were off again, moving to Hawaii
which became home to the whole family off and on over the years. Tomas and
Joyce did a brief stint in the San Francisco area, returning to Hawaii for
awhile, before moving to Saipan for several years. After returning to
Hawaii, Tomas entered the nautical phase of his life. He and Joyce moved
aboard the Sea Rover, a 42 ft Ferro cement Ketch that he spent several years
refitting. After Joyce retired, they moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They
were living there when their daughter Julee asked them if they would be
interested in living in Bali instead and helping her with her import
business. They jumped at the chance for a new adventure and spent the next 4
years living in Bali. It was during this time that they discovered Thailand
on a “Visa” trip out of Indonesia. They came to Chiang Mai and fell in love
with the place and the people. However, they decided to live in Australia
for awhile where their daughter Julee resides. They lived in the Cairns area
for a year and then decided to move to Chiang Mai. They came for six months,
but it felt like home and they stayed. During their time in Chiang Mai they
continued to trip around the world, living in Argentina for a time, making
some great friends and exploring other South American countries while they
were there. They also fulfilled a lifelong dream of exploring Europe on two
separate trips in the last couple of years.
Tomas and Joyce were surrogate parents to many over the years, Mayla, Bla
and Aoy were much beloved by him and were great friends and daughters to
him. He said that he felt the reason he had come to Chiang Mai was to meet
Bla and Aoy. Tomas and Joyce were on a trip to Bali with Tomisanne, Nick,
Bla & Aoy to celebrate Tomas’s 74th birthday, they had a wonderful time. Two
days after his birthday, Tomas passed away gently. He was cremated in Bali,
his ashes to be scattered in Chiang Mai, Australia and Michigan.
Tomas is survived by his much beloved wife Joyce, his children Tobin, Julee,
Tomisanne, Mayla, Bla and Aoy, his grandchildren Nik, Scott, Jesse, Sierra,
Taran, Cristofer, Nicole, and his sister Connie Ritter. Cynthia, Nick and
Tony, the spouses of his children were also very much fathered and friend to
The way he lived his life has been an example to us all. He extracted each
sweet drop of enjoyment from every moment possible, and then later savoured
each again with laughter and smiles at remembered joys. “Right about now
life is beautiful” was ever on his lips. If it is possible to sum up Tomas
in a few words, they might be “Love, laugh, and live!”
Nick, Joyce, Howard and Lawrence along with Bart
Scott, Tobin, Aoy, with Tomi in the background.
Lawrence, John and Mark.
Tobin, Joyce and Mr Too.
Sao and Chap during the celebration of Tomas’s
(l/r) Julee, Tomi, Nick, Joyce, Jesse, Tobin,
Scott and Aoy - the family came from around the world to join in a
celebration of his life.
Ong, Joyce, Oh and Joe.
Paddy, Ronnie, Stuart and Mike.