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Alumni Happenings - April 2007
Grand County High School

 

Teri Peterson Thomas,
GCHS Class of 1978
by Jeff Richards

Teri Thomas
Teri Thomas 2007

Teri Peterson Thomas, 47, a graduate of the Grand County High School Class of 1978, has owned and operated the popular Moab Diner restaurant with her husband Geoff Thomas for the past 14 years.

Teri and Geoff first met in Salt Lake in 1986 when they worked at the same JB’s restaurant. Although they had come down to Moab to visit Teri’s parents on occasion, they had no plans to move here until they had the opportunity to buy the diner (then known as the Grand Ice Cream Parlor) from Glen Victor in 1993.

“Back then, it had a drive-thru window, which we got rid of, and just made it a sit-down restaurant,” recalls Teri. The Moab Diner, located at 189 South Main, is well-known for its hamburgers, southwestern entrees, and its famous Kokopelli chicken. It also boasts what it calls “the best green chili in Utah,” and also serves ice cream cones and sundaes by the scoop at the front counter.
“Initially, I didn’t want to move back to Moab,” says Teri. “But it’s been so good to us. We’ve been blessed.”

Teri attended GCHS at the same time as two of her sisters, Lori (Class of 1977) and Sheri (Class of 1979). Not only were they close in age, the three sisters shared many of the same friends, and enjoyed doing many of the same activities together. Youngest sibling Vicki (Class of 1987) came along a few years after the older three girls, and also graduated from GCHS. Lori currently lives in Elko, Nev., Sheri lives in Alaska, and Vicki resides in Salt Lake City.

The family’s parents, Pete and Barbara Peterson, are longtime Moab residents, having moved here in 1960 when Lori was a baby. Pete owned and operated the Pete and Co. barber shop for more than 30 years. The barber shop was formerly located on Main Street (where the Tom Till Gallery is now located), and after a number of years moved to the plaza at 471 South Main, just south of City Market. The “semi-retired” Pete sold the business (now called Brandy’s Hair Design) a few years ago, but still cuts hair there around three days a week.
Teri and Geoff are the parents of three children. Oldest daughter Shealyn, 18, graduated from GCHS in 2006 and is currently attending Simpson University in Redding, Calif. Their second child, 16-year-old daughter Kylie, is currently a junior at GCHS. The third and youngest child is son Dale, 12, a 6th-grader at Helen M. Knight Intermediate School.

Teri Peterson

“I love being a parent,” says Teri. “There’s nothing better.”
Teri says she and Geoff enjoy four-wheeling, camping, and hiking. They also enjoy attending Dale’s soccer games, and being involved in “whatever else the kids have going on.” Still avid Red Devil supporters, the Thomas family enjoys watching basketball, football, and baseball games, and attending other activities.

Teri remembers being involved in band and in student government while in high school. She admits that she had a tendency to miss class from time to time. “I remember Fran Townsend, who was then the school secretary, always telling me and my friends to get to class,” Teri recalls. “Now, of course, my own kids know not to skip class, or they’re in trouble!”

Teri says she still keeps in close touch with a number of her classmates, including Lotus Nelson and Shelly Coates, just to name a couple. She also fondly remembers going to Hawaii for the Class of 1978’s senior trip the summer after graduation.

Teri said that one of her favorite teachers was drivers’ education instructor Ron Pierce, who still lives in Moab. “I remember that he would let you have the first turn to drive if you brought him cookies,” she recalls, adding that another of her favorite teachers was history teacher Don Hillman.

After her high school graduation, Teri attended Utah State University in Logan for awhile until she became sick and had to quit college. She ended up working in Salt Lake, where she met her future husband.

Teri and Geoff are excited about the Moab Diner’s recent renovation, which took place over a period of just six weeks (from Jan. 2 to Feb. 16). “Rick McElhaney and his workers did an awesome job on the construction,” says Teri.

Improvements were made to the interior and exterior of the building, which also grew in size by about five tables without sacrificing any parking spots (only a planter box and sign were removed on the west end of the building).

“Our main goal was to make it more comfortable for our customers,” says Teri, adding that most people seem happy with the changes.

Another change for the Moab Diner is that since reopening after the recent renovation, the restaurant is now closed on Sundays. Teri admits that a few of their customers weren’t happy about that change, but says that having Sundays off provides a much-needed break for not only her family but also the diner’s 33 other employees.

“It’s nice to have a day where you can just relax, and know that the phone won’t ring,” she says.
“We love our employees. They are just awesome,” adds Teri. “We’re like a family.”

 
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