Joseph Ralph Thomas, Sr., 88 of California, MD, Thomas Family Patriarch, went to be with his Lord on Sunday, June 2, 2019 at the Hospice House of St. Mary’s, Callaway, MD. Prior to his transitioning, he was surrounded by his loving family, extended family and friends.
Ralph a lifelong resident of St. Mary’s County was born on February 22, 1931 in California, MD. He was the second of six children (5 boys and 1 girl) born to Samuel McDowell and Emma Irene Thomas.
In his early years, Ralph attended St. Francis Public School, California, MD, Patuxent Beach Public School and Jarboesville Public School, Hermanville, MD. He attended the Eastern Detective Academy, Washington, D.C., graduating in 1969. He met his wife, Catherine Hicks, through his Uncle Gorman Thomas and they were married in 1951 at Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Parish, Chaptico, MD. He loved spending time with his children and grandchildren, sharing words of wisdom, encouragement and always expressing pride in their accomplishments. He will always be remembered for his generosity, loyalty, kindness, sense of humor and unfailing devotion to his family and friends.
Ralph was a dedicated hard worker. He frequently held more than one job to provide for his family making sure that they had what was needed. His employment history included 31 years at Safeway, Inc. He also worked at Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship, Piney Point, MD. He was a Special Deputy Sheriff with the St. Mary’s Sheriff Department from 1966-1970. He culminated his employment by following his father’s legacy as a self-employed school bus contractor for St. Mary’s County.
Ralph was a member of the Knights of Columbus, NAACP, Elks Lodge #1120, and a 62 year member of the Knights of Saint John, St. Mary’s Commandery – 370, attaining the rank of Captain.
He leaves to honor and cherish his memory, his wife of 67 years, Catherine (Polly) Thomas; his sons, Joseph R. Thomas, Jr. (Bette) and Michael Thomas (Cassandra); his daughters, Patricia Sampson (Nathaniel), Carolyn Haylock, Catherine Jones (Douglas) and Juanita Bernard; 15 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild; siblings, Anthony Thomas, Sr., Juanita Marsh, Vincent Thomas (Linda) and Vernon Thomas (Rose).
He was predeceased by his brother, Phillip R. Thomas and let’s not forget his beloved pet dog, Missy, that he loved dearly.
The family wishes to share a special thanks to the Hospice staff for their care and support. The family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to the Rev. Joseph S. Statesman, Rev. Alfred Statesman and Theresa Ann Louis for their lifelong support and friendship.
Memorial gifts can be made to the Hospice House of St. Mary’s, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650 in memory of Joseph R. Thomas, Sr. or online to www.hospiceofstmarys.org .
Family and friends will unite on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 for visitation at 9:00 am until Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 22375 Three Notch Rd, Lexington Park, MD 20653. Interment to follow in the church cemetery.
Hi cousins, may God be with you through your time of bereavement. We love you and be blessed.
To Polly, Patricia, Nate and The Thomas Family, We have many fond memories of Mr. Thomas. Whenever our families gathered together there was much joy and laughter. He and our Dad would talk for hours. May God continue to bless and provide comfort to you and the family during this time of need. Lovingly, The Sampson, Perkins, and Pritchett Families
Keeping the Thomas family in my prayers.