My family would like to thank you for helping us celebrate my Dad. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is only fitting that I share who my Dad was. For those of you that know my Dad well you will recognize all these nuances. For those who were just getting to know him you will understand why we love him so much. He is one of the strongest, honest most steadfast people I know, and they just don’t make men like him anymore.
Carl George Thomas was born on November 13 1936. He passed away peacefully on May 20, 2022. He was predeceased by his wife JoAnne and is survived by his adoring family: three children Laura, Carl (Elizabeth), Christopher and his sister MaryAnne Thomas Kowalewski and numerous nieces and nephews. Loving Grandpa to Gavin, Kathryn, Lauren, Kieran and Claire.
Carl was the fourth little boy for Edwin and Anna…My Dad always felt that my Grandmother was wishing for that baby girl to complete her family making him feel unwanted….Grandma did get her wish 3 years later with the birth of Aunt MaryAnne. They lived very modestly in Lynbrook, Nassau County with a brief move to upstate NY ultimately returning to Valley Stream, Long Island. My Dad often spoke of tough times all the hand me downs, eating ketchup or sugar sandwiches to avoid being hungry. He told us stories about his mother having him and his brother “go catch dinner” whereas they would grab a chicken cut off its head and watch it run around the yard eventually bringing it to her to clean. My Dad was severely burned in an accident when he was 12. He was able to overcome this setback through strength and his powerful resolve to not let this get in his way. He even decided that he no longer wanted to be called Carl and told everyone he wanted to be called Joe. To this day many of his nieces and nephews still call him “Uncle Joe.”
After graduating from Valley Stream Central High School in 1954 Dad joined the Army being part of the 82nd Airborne jumping out of airplanes completing 18 jumps, then made his way to become a NY State Trooper in upstate NY. He soon grew tired of being in a patrol car and returned to Long Island to take architectural classes @ Farmingdale College. Finally finding that working with his hands was something he loved. Creating and enhancing residential projects became his lifelong career. He ran a successful contracting company specializing in home improvements for over 35 years. His collection of tools and equipment came in handy on many occasions. My Dad always had vision and would take on even the most challenging jobs just to prove he could do it…He did extensive renovations to my home as a labor of love. Many times, I would ask him to move a wall, raise a ceiling, install windows…his first reaction was telling me I was crazy, but a few days would pass, and he would be at my house tools and materials in hand telling me exactly how he was going to get it done! As he got older all my projects were handed over to my brother Chris to handle. My Dad always made sure to stop by and “inspect” but what he was really doing was marveling in how talented Chris is and how it reflected on how much he had taught him.
Everything my Dad did was for his family, always up before the sun, driving out as daylight began and always home after dark…Mom always held dinner until he came home so when we heard that truck backing into the driveway we knew dinner wasn’t too far away - we were starving!!, only to realize we have to wait for the truck to be unloaded!
Ill always have fond memories of our trips upstate. It was a 4-hour car ride to Sidney NY that we happily took to visit Uncle Jack & Aunt Dottie. Even though Dad didn’t believe in stopping he always made sure there was toilet paper in the trunk just in case. My Dad loved being in the country & spending time with family.
My parents had their own love story….married for 56 years…the love they shared, their understanding of each other…their relationship was special. When my Mom passed 2 years ago we weren’t ready for the impact it would have on my Dad…a piece of him was now missing. Something so heartbreaking to witness. It makes me smile to know that they are reunited again.
My Dad always had a love of animals, many times bringing home a stray dog he found on a job site, one time a duck and we had rabbits. He got the most pleasure in being a chicken farmer. Loved tending to them, watching them hatch chicks, collecting the eggs, and letting them free range through the backyard.
He was also a proud gardener. He had dedicated one side of the backyard to planting his vegetables. Tomatoes and string beans were his specialty, but he grew some of the biggest cucumbers and zucchini I have ever seen!
He was an avid coin collector & a member of the Massapequa Coin Club..He loved the history of currency and his favorite was collecting Indian Head pennies. He would revel in finding them and his excitement in finding one in mint condition. He made many friends participating in Coin Club meetings and always made time to attend since it was his job to bring cake!
What my Dad was best at was being Grandpa! His face would light up upon their arrival to his house! He adored his 5 grandchildren always making time to sit with them and enjoyed responding to their million questions. He let them help make his famous breakfasts including letting them flip pancakes which didn’t quite make It back into the pan. He was always trying to impress them by finding an egg that was a “double yoker” once he broke it into the pan.
We will forever miss you terribly but know you were tired and now at peace. We will continue to follow all that you have taught us & take comfort in all the memories of time spent with you. We look for your continued guidance as you watch over us from above. Give Mom and Carleigh a hug for us.