William Thomas

William D. Thomas

Tuesday, September 11th, 1934 - Saturday, August 8th, 2020
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William D. Thomas, born September 11, 1934, left this earth for a fantastic, eternal motorcycle ride on August 8, 2020.
He was the son of William and Frances Thomas of Lewistown, PA. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Glen, James, and Gene; and a sister, Alta Nickel.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Lila (Lerch) Thomas, with whom he loved deeply. He delighted in taking long car rides and searching for antiques with her.
He is also survived by his two daughters, Lisa Thomas and husband Leo Burger of Herman, New York and Jody Wear and husband Jeff of Greenbrier, Tennessee.
He leaves behind his granddaughters Jessy (Wear) Espigh, Katie (Wear) Sieg, and Molly Burger. He took great pleasure in providing his granddaughters with experiences and advice. There were many trips to Knobels Grove during which it could be easily recognized that he enjoyed the rides just as much as the kids. Not to mention the satisfaction he felt when he managed to scare the daylights out of them on the haunted house ride, after which, he would spend several minutes laughing at his own antics. He never missed an athletic event in which his granddaughters participated and he enjoyed teaching them to relax and appreciate a slow pace by feeding the ducks. Any time the grandkids became impatient asking “Can we go somewhere else or how long until we get there,” his response was, “You know what the monkey said when he got his tail cut off? It won’t be long now!”
He is also survived by a sister, Frances Penepacker and a great-grandson, Cassius Jett Sieg.
Bill graduated from Lewistown High School in 1953. While he did not attend college, those who knew him best are certain that he graduated summa cum laude from the school of life. He led a great one.
He was an athlete and a sports enthusiast in general. In his early years, he was a soap box derby champion. During high school, he played varsity football and post-graduation, he played fastpitch softball. Interestingly, he played on a softball team that occasionally traveled to prisons and competed against inmates. A favorite story of his came from one such matchups when he told a prison guard that one of his teammates was an inmate who was trying to ‘escape’ with the team. His closing line was, “They let him out eventually.” Bill also played tennis, golf, and volleyball, and was a huge fan of Penn State football.
Bill worked for Letterman’s Bakery, was a lineman for AT&T, an insurance agent for State Farm, and he bought and sold real estate. After the birth of his second child, with grit and determination, he established his own advertising business, Thomas Advertising, which he owned and operated successfully for over 30 years.
He was a jokester, a trickster, and a storyteller all his life. His stories were usually full of color and about half true, but who knows which half. He had a gift for making ornery and mischievous feel likeable and admirable. With him around, there was never a dull moment.
While he was always a source of comedy, he was also a great family man. He often walked through the door asking, “Everybody alright?” He took care of us all in one way or another. He took great pride in being the grill master at family cookouts. He also loved taking his grand-dog, Layla, for daily walks.
In addition to family, he valued his friendships and looked forward to “solving the world’s problems” during his daily coffee groups.
A memorial service will be held at the convenience of the family.
Arrangements are under the care of The Barr Funeral Home Inc. & Crematory, 120 Logan Street Lewistown.
Donations may be made to Valley View Retirement Community in Belleville, PA, but in all honesty, Bill would probably much rather that his friends and family just share lighthearted remembrances of him over a cup of coffee at the Parkway, Stoicheff’s, or McDonalds.
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Gaynelle Solt

Posted at 05:19pm
So sorry to hear about William passing. Thoughts and prayers to his family! My husband and I got married in 1984 and he rented us our first apartment at 35 Valley St . My husband carried me through those doors as it was our first home for 5 years. He was such a nice and kind man . I remember him always bringing his granddaughter to the Library when I worked there years ago.

Gary Gill

Posted at 08:14am
It was with sadness that I heard of the death of an old friend Bill Thomas. My heart goes out to his family. I played tennis with bill many years ago. You could always count on Bill to make you smile, to make you laugh. He loved his friends and he knew how to show it. I will miss his funny comebacks. I'm sure his family has many fond memories of their time with Bill. By the way, his obituary was the perfect description of Bill.

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