Robert John Thode: 1950-2021


On Sunday, May 23, 2021, Robert John Thode, motorcycle enthusiast, agricultural advocate, and local hellraiser, passed away at the age of 70. Robert was born in Chehalis, Wash., June 18, 1950, to Lester and Verna (Jensen) Thode.
His childhood experience in farming came from the family strawberry farm, just outside of Chehalis. Robert also raised prize-winning cattle, which he showed in the fairs. He graduated from W.F. West High School in Chehalis in 1968, and Centralia College in 1970. Robert then attended Washington State University, earning a B.S. in Agriculture and a teaching degree that led to positions at Willapa Valley and Onalaska High Schools. In 1981, Robert began teaching Diesel Technology at Centralia College, cultivating innovation and ingenuity. Later in life, he went back to school again, earning a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Evergreen State College.
On April 7, 1973, Robert married Martha Ann Logan, welcoming two sons, Ryan and Riston, and an adopted daughter, Sharlene. They settled on the Logan family farm in Onalaska, Wash., where they raised kids and cattle. In the early 1990’s, Robert retired from teaching and blended his passions for agriculture, travel, and challenging the status quo to grow a small business. Robert has dedicated countless hours to serving as a liaison for many local organizations as an agricultural advocate. Also participating in Washington AgForestry Class 14, visiting Russia and Israel.
Robert’s zeal for motorcycles and travel was infectious. He crisscrossed the globe on his motorcycle, from the tip of South America and Africa to the far north. His adventures have carried him through 101 countries, including the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, Cuba, Europe, and New Zealand. He always made friends and memories along the way.
Robert is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife; children; siblings, Roger (Lila), Jim (Nancy), and Carol (Pete) Bezy; his grandchildren; and the many lives he has touched.
A memorial potluck to honor and share stories will be held at the farm, 874 Burnt Ridge Rd., in Onalaska, Wash., June 13, 2021, at 1 p.m. Bring your favorite dish and story. We welcome family, friends, and students.