RUTLAND — Funeral services were held Jan.12 in the Tossing Funeral Home for Richard William Thomas, Sr., 91, who died Jan. 8 at Mt. View Genesis Center Eldercare Network. Burial will be at a later date in Cheney Hill Cemetery.
He was born March 27, 1922, in Rutland, son of Orin A. and Charlotte L. (Baird) Thomas, Sr.
Dick graduated from Rutland High School in 1940 and the University of Vermont in 1944, where he was a member of the baseball team and Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Following graduation he served in the U.S. Navy. He then returned home to work in the family business, Thomas Dairy, where he worked everyday into his 80’s.
In later years in conversations with family members, Dick talked about boyhood years on the Thomas Dairy. Dick recalled that he and his brothers had various chores, such as feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, feeding and bedding the calves, cutting asparagus, washing milk bottles and helping with milking.
He went on to say that in addition to fresh milk, eggs were sold off the milk truck to customers along with asparagus, sweet corn and sometimes-fresh butter made from surplus milk. He often joked like all children, we sometimes tried to avoid the duties-“We were great escape artists!”
Dick won first place in Hoards Dairyman dairy cattle judging contest in 1956.
He was a member of the Vermont Dairy Council for a number of years, serving as president from 1966-1967. This group, to which his father belonged, promotes the use of dairy products.
He was a member of the Rutland Lodge BPOE #345, was the Exalted Ruler from 1975-1976, and served as chaplain for 17 years. Dick was a member of the Cairo Temple Shrine and the American Legion Post #31 of Rutland.
Dick took up golf later in life and joined Proctor-Pittsford Country Club. For many years he enjoyed regular games with many friends. The highlight of his golfing was a hole in one at Proctor-Pittsford Country Club.
Survivors include his four children, Richard W. Thomas, Jr. and wife, Elaine, Martha T. Russell and husband, John, Candace Piscopo and husband, Gene and Perry J. Thomas and wife, Kerry; six grandchildren, Brad D. Thomas and wife, Jill, Dr. Tracy L. Thomas and husband, Jerry Moloney, Ashley T. Minarski and husband, James, John Russell III and wife, Heike, Mark Russell and wife, Marion, Matthew Russell and wife, Lindsey; nine great-grandchildren; brother, William B. Thomas and wife, Helen; two sisters-in-law, Natalie and Amelia; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by four brothers, Orin A. Thomas, Jr., Paul B. Thomas, John M. Thomas and Merritt L. Thomas; and his former wife, Marilyn Cady Thomas.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church, 81 Center Street, Rutland, 05701; or to a charity of one’s choice.
Arrangements were under the direction of Tossing Funeral Home.
This obituary first appeared in the January 16, 2014 print edition of the Vermont Standard.
To leave condolences, thoughts or stories, please comment below.
To see more obituaries click here.