Ralph R. ?Torchy? Thomas , of Mason City, died Tuesday (March 18, 2003) at St. Mary?s Hospital in Rochester, MN. Funeral services will be held 11:00 AM Saturday at the First Christian Church, 318 North Adams, with Rev. Richard ?Rick? Eichenlaub officiating. Interment will be in Memorial Park Cemetery with full military rites by the Mason City Veterans Memorial Association. Visitation will be from 4:00 to 7:00 PM Friday at Major Erickson Funeral Home and one hour before service time on Saturday at the Church. Memorials may be given to the First Christian Church, Salvation Army or to the V.F.W. Ralph was born January 12, 1920 in Mason City the son of Leon C. and Pearl V. (Hance) Thomas.. Ralph graduated from Mason City High School in 1938 and Mason City Jr. College in 1940. He then attended U. of I. and Iowa State University. Ralph served in the Army Air Corp from 1942 to 1945 attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. Ralph was married to Iona ?Iny? Mae Bailey, daughter of Melvin and Hazel Bailey, on Oct. 16, 1949 in Mason City. They had four children, Leon, Barbara, Mark and Robert. Ralph began working with his dad at Thomas Machine Company at the age of 8 and operated Thomas Machine Company beginning in 1950 following his father?s death. Ralph enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, especially kidding, joking and telling stories. He loved to nickname people and had a nickname for nearly everyone. Ralph had many interests including restoring antique cars and traveling with his cars in such events as the Glidden Tour, collecting everything, reading and enjoying the view from his front window, eating chocolate, watching high school and college wrestling and all Iowa college sports, and having picnics and grilling his special hamburgers. Ralph was a member of: First Christian Church, Salvation Army (board), David Manufacturing (board), North Iowa Vintage Auto (charter member), Plymouth Club (charter member), VFW (life member), Sigma Chi and Odd Fellows. Ralph is survived by his loving wife Iona; son Leon Thomas and wife Mary of Mason City and their children Dylan of Iowa City, Derek and Alyssa of Mason City; daughter Barbara Colvin and husband Steve of Hawkeye; son Mark Thomas and wife Tralee and their children Eric and Jason of Mason City; son Robert Thomas and friend Kathy Greenan of Mason City. Ralph is also survived by his sister; Hazel Mae McGowan of Bettendorf and her children Alys Jo and Tom; Leona Cooperman and her husband Dr. Martin of Stockbridge, MA and their children Barbara, Sue and Alan; and his sister-in-law Leila Young and her husband LeRoy of Nora Springs and their children Dana, Brad and Brenda. Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Robert LeRoy Thomas, his sister Edna Grace Thomas and his brother-in-law Merlin ?Mac? McGowan.
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Major Erickson Funeral Home on March 21, 2003 (map/driving directions) 11:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Major Erickson Funeral Home on March 20, 2003 (map/driving directions)
11:00 AM at First Christian Church on March 22, 2003 (map/driving directions)