Gerald Thomas

Gerald Joseph Thomas, 81, of St. Charles, MO passed away Thursday, February 1, 2018 in Maryland Heights, MO. 

Gerald was born June 20, 1936 in St. Louis, MO to Major Fred Thomas Sr. and Eva Lillian (Mertle) Thomas Withinton. In 1948 the Thomas family moved from Richmond Heights, MO to Owensville, MO. Gerald graduated from Owensville high school in 1954. 

In 1955 he began working as a sheet metal worker at McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis, beginning a career that would span 40 years. From Sept. 1959 to Sept. 1961 Gerald served in the 105 Howitzer Unit of the U.S. Army in Ft. Bragg, NC. After his discharge, he returned to Missouri and his job at McDonnell Aircraft. Soon after he was promoted to the Production Planning Department, where he worked on a variety of aircraft, writing build orders from engineer drawings. He retired from McDonnell Douglas as an engineer in November 1996.

Gerald married Norma Ruth Picker July 19, 1958 at Leduc Methodist Church near Red Bird, MO. They bought their home in St. Charles in 1962 where they raised their four children: Valerie June, Lynette Gail, Connie Sue and Steven Dean. Together Gerald and Norma raised their family as members of the Methodist Church.

In his free time Gerald loved spending time with his wife Norma, children, sons-in-law, grandchildren, his many other family members and friends. He enjoyed gardening, working on small engines and cars, playing pinochle and games, telling jokes and stories, fishing, swimming, traveling and camping. He especially loved attending the family campouts with his family and cousins every year since 1980. Gerald always loved the country and acquiring the Picker family farm in 1996 provided a great source of joy. There he and Norma gardened, put in crops (with the help of brother Eldred) and made many memories with family and friends.

Gerald was called to his eternal home and a great reunion in Heaven. He was preceded in death by his parents Major Thomas, Sr. and Eva Thomas Withinton, stepfather Thomas (Bud) Withinton, brother Eldred Thomas, brothers-in-law James Shoemaker, Lawrence and Melvin Picker and sisters-in-law Erna Thomas and Jean Picker, nephew Robert Thomas, nieces Angel Thomas, Pam Church, and Sandy Shoemaker. 

Gerald is survived by his wife Norma; children Valerie (Ron) Woerndle, Lynette (Craig) Hoffman, Connie (Paul) Ratliff and Steve Thomas; grandchildren Justin Woerndle, Jessica, Abigail and Zachary Hoffman; brother Major F. Thomas Jr., sister Marilyn Shoemaker, sisters-in-law Mary Lou Thomas and Susan Picker. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews, step-family, and many friends. 

He shared his kind heart and joy with family, friends and strangers. He will be dearly missed and will live forever in the hearts of those who loved him.

Visitation will be held Thursday February 8 (4-7 pm) at Archway Memorial Chapel, 111 Taylor Rd. in Hazelwood, MO and Friday February 9 (4-7 pm) at Gottenstroeter Funeral Home in Owensville, MO. 

Services will be held Saturday February 10 at 10:30 am at the Gottenstroeter Chapel in Owensville. Burial will follow at Leduc Methodist Cemetery near Red Bird.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested Memorial Contributions in Memory of Gerald Thomas be made to the Leduc Cemetery Association, 3700 Dogwood Lane, Owensville, Missouri 65066.