Leroy Ellis Thomas passed on December 23, 2019 surrounded by the love, gratitude, and respect of his family.
Born August 6, 1936 in Montrose, Michigan to Claude & Mary Rose (Ellis) Thomas, Leroy was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Perry, John, Howard, Ross, and his sisters Harriet & Alice.
Leroy is survived by his wife Erma and their children Tina (& Greg), Dennis, Perry, Andy (& Marnie), Emmy (& Kevin); grandchildren Benjamin, Joshua, Jillian (& Gordon), August, Charlotte, Harrison; and great-grandchildren Derrick & Ivan.
Attending Pleasant Valley Country School until Grade 8, Leroy came to Lake Odessa High School where he first laid eyes on Erma Lee Jackson in Mrs. Nichols English class. Being on the short side, Erma Lee asked to change seats with Leroy to which he responded “Why don’t you just grow up?” At the time Erma thought “What a brat … but he’s so cute!”
Leroy and Erma dated throughout high school, and Erma had to wait for Leroy to turn 18 so they could be married on November 6, 1954. Recently celebrating 65 years of marriage, Leroy maintained his place sitting right by her side – living, loving, and working hard – still cute, and always just a little bratty.
After retiring from his dream job of owning and operating Someday Dairy Farm on Brown Road together with Erma, Leroy devoted his retirement years to cutting wood and creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind, wooden works of art. Count yourself very fortunate if you own one. Leroy had demonstrated his skills at wood crafting many years prior, when he carved a heart inset with the initials LT + EJ on the Lake Odessa High School gym balcony railing. For all the years since, Leroy was never shy about showing his admiration for Erma Lee.
While it would be impossible to put into words the man that Leroy was, and to take the full measure of all that he meant to those who knew and loved him; however, it is fitting to include just a few memories:
Leroy has always been a master of ingenuity when it comes to keeping things running – a glance at his workshop, barn, and tractor will bear witness to his flair for ‘customization’ of his equipment and tools
Although no one would ever dare call Leroy lazy, he still managed to teach his grandchildren how to have a proper coffee break, every day at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock sharp … and always with a little something sweet
When Leroy shook your hand, you knew it
Never a fair-weather fan, you could always find him listening to the Tigers game on the radio; in years past he enjoyed coaching the Union Bank Bucks little league team – and especially loved celebrating wins with cones at the A & W
Despite the incredible man that Leroy was, it was his perpetually humble nature that made him so easy to love. As true testament to his modesty, he never crafted any wood pieces that wouldn’t fit through the furnace door
A memorial visitation will be held on December 27, 2019 from 5pm until 8pm at Koops Funeral Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the Woodland Library.
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