Gerald L. ThomasApril 14, 1923 ~ August 7, 2017 (age 94)
Gerald Lee Thomas, age 94 years of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 12:45 a.m. on Monday, August 7, 2017 with family gathered around at his home, following an extended illness.
He was born on April 14, 1923 in Rochester, Indiana to Harold G. and Eva Lucille (Johnson) Thomas. He attended Eau Claire, Michigan schools, and enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps. After completing a tour of duty, he was Honorably Discharged and began his career with the National-Standard Corporation in Niles from which he retired after more than thirty years of employment.
Gerald was a Boy Scout leader with the Boy Scouts of America. He was a skilled woodworker, making furniture in his home shop. He enjoyed all forms of outdoor activity including fishing anywhere he could launch his boat, camping –usually up at Mesick, Michigan, and mushroom hunting.
On August 6, 1944 he married the former Norma Dillman who preceded him in death on March 12, 1958. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and by a great-granddaughter, Carla Thomas on December 24, 1994; and by his siblings, David C. Thomas, Major Dean Thomas, Frederick A. Thomas, Clarence E. Thomas, and Bessie Barrett.
On June 18, 1960 in Niles he married Beverly (Clay) Vance with whom he celebrated last June the Fifty-seventh anniversary of their wedding.
Surviving family includes his wife, Beverly Thomas; and children, Karen (& John) Thompson of Buchanan, Michigan, Gerald Lee (& Elaine) Thomas II of Gulfport, Mississippi, Duane (& Theresa) Vance of Niles, Danny (& Melinda) Vance of Pokagon, Michigan, and Tammy (& Dave) Frucci of Niles; twenty-four grandchildren, forty-four great-grandchildren, and eleven great-great-grandchildren; and Gerald’s siblings, Margaret Hoese, Mary Welch and Eva (& George) Hunt of Niles, Dorothy Kiggins of Dowagiac, Michigan, and Scharlotte Beecher of Florida; a sister-in-law, Gladys (Mrs. Clarence) Thomas of Arkansas, and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service for Gerald Thomas will be at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home in Niles with Pastor Michael Cheney officiating. Committal will follow at Mission Hills.
The family will receive relatives and friends from 2:00 until 4:00 and 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home. Contributions in memory of Gerald Thomas may be made to Hospice at Home.
Hospice at Home
4025 Health Park Lane, Saint Joseph MI 49085