Fred Thomas, 99, died peacefully July 28, 2017, in Riverdale.
He was born in Ogden, Utah, to Lebanese immigrants Azeezie Malouf and Ed Maalouf Thomas, on Oct. 31, 1917. He was preceded in death by his wife Marie (Bez), his longtime companion Theresa Cirino, brothers Woodrow and Raymond, and his sister Juliet.
He is survived by his loving children, daughters Marie Thomas (Jerry Larson) of San Diego; Barbara Thomas Rooney (Michael Rooney) of Hartsdale; and son Edward Thomas (Timothy Bryk) of Glen Rock, New Jersey. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law Eleanor Bez and Louise Thomas, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
After departing Ogden in 1924, his family moved to the Washington Heights community in upper Manhattan. In 1936, his father opened a dry goods store in Spur, Texas, but his mother didn’t like life in Texas (nor being away from her family), and they moved back to New York within a year. During those years in New York, he helped his father with real estate holdings in Harlem.
He served in the U.S. Army between 1941 and 1945 as a staff sergeant in the 355th Infantry, Company “M.” He was in Bermuda for much of the war. As part of the 89th Infantry Division, he arrived in France in January 1945, following Gen. Patton after D-Day. He ended up in Germany. In April 1945, he was among those soldiers who liberated Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald.
Married in 1952, he and his family resided in the Bronx, first in University Heights, and then in Riverdale.
Much of his career was spent working in the garment industry in New York City. He loved to dance, especially disco. He was an avid reader all of his life. He enjoyed watching science-fiction television shows like “Star Trek,” “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits.” He played volleyball into his 80s, and loved spending time at the Jersey shore.
He was a gentleman, and a gentle man, who will be missed by all.
A prayer service is set for Aug. 3 at 11 a.m., at the St. Frances Chapel at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 10 W. Stevens Ave., Hawthorne.
In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy in Fred Thomas’ name are asked to consider St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.