As children growing up in Cherokee County, Art Thomas and Gloria Gastons lived about a mile and a half apart, part of a group of children who would get together and play baseball or ride bicycles.
Art attended Neutral School District 26, a one-room school, while Gloria attended Owsley School District 45, later graduating from Pittsburg High School. Gloria remembers making box suppers to raise money for school equipment and books.
"Art would always seem to pick the box supper I had made," she smiles. Art's parents went square dancing every Saturday night, with Art and Gloria tagging along.
Gloria continued her education, attending Kansas State Teachers College where she received her BS in education and her MS in elementary education.
On June 9, 1940, Art and Gloria were married, and celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary. They were blessed with two sons, Gary Wayne and Phillip Arthur.
Art joined the service in 1944, serving in Europe during World War II, and returning home in 1946. He worked at Kansas City Southern Railroad for 21 years, then with WS Dickey Clay for 22 years.
He farmed and raised cattle for about 25 years. Gloria taught school for about 28 years. She remembers teaching in a one-room school house and has fond memories of teaching 4th grade at George Nettles and Cherokee.
The Thomas family enjoyed traveling. After retirement, they loved to travel with Good Will Tours because the trips are all planned out. They have visited every state in the United States. They both enjoyed camping, boating, and fishing. Gloria enjoyed cooking, reading and traveling.
Art and Gloria moved to Via Christi Village in Pittsburg on Aug. 9, 2008. They are enjoying their new home, especially the good food.