Wayne Leroy Thomas passed into Heaven on Nov. 19, 2018, the same day as his great granddaughter Julia’s 8th birthday. He died from oral cancer at his daughters home in Montrose, Colorado.
Wayne was born March 18, 1923 in Elmira, New York, the son of William and Addie Thomas. The family bought Wayne’s grandparents farm in Pine City, New York when Wayne was about three years old and that is where he grew up.
Wayne started his career with the A&P grocery chain while in high school where he met Norma C. Meriwether, the love of his life.
World War II started while Wayne was still in high school. He joined the Civil Air Patrol to record planes spotted over Elmira in case of an enemy invasion.
After graduating from Southside High School in Elmira Wayne joined the Army Air Force. While home on leave he and Norma married on Dec. 6, 1944 at the same Methodist parsonage where his parents were married.
Wayne was deployed to Iwo Jima where they setup airfields to attack Japan. Wayne gained the rank of staff Sergeant and was in charge of the armament of the airplanes on the island.
After the war Wayne returned to his job at the A&P. He worked in different stores in Elmira, then Waverly. He was promoted to store manager in Towanda in 1957 and retired from there in 1988.
Wayne was a very active member of the Christ Episcopal church in Towanda serving as church school superintendent and on the vestry. He was also a member of the Lions Club, American Legion Post No. 42 serving on the Honor Guard and the Towanda Country Club where he recorded two holes in one. After retirement he was a Little League coach and drove members of the high school golf team to matches, both of which his grandson Tobey was involved.
Surviving is his daughter, Paula; daughter-in-law, Patricia; sisters-in-law, Carmen and Zelda; grandchildren, Robin (Sharon), Scott (Brenda), Kirstin (Andy), Tobey, and Marissa (Julian); great-grandchildren, Lucas, Julia and Orion Wayne; nieces and nephews, Emma Jeanette, Ebba, Wesley, Timothy, Harris Wayne, Connie, Billy, Donnie, Joy, Todd, Elizabeth, Tom, Tracy, Ted, Michael, Bob, Carol, Jerry, Vincent, Joe, Julie, Kathy and Carol. He was preceded in death by his wife, Norma; son, Paul; his parents; four brothers; three sisters; friend, Ruth and several nieces and nephews.
A requiem mass and military honors will be at 11 a.m. June 1, at the Episcopal Church, Towanda. Donations in Wayne’s name may be made to the American Legion, Main Street, Towanda, Pennsylvania.