Known as either Charlie or Doc, he was born on January 14, 1942 in Frackville, PA, and served as the town’s only veterinarian for 41 years (retiring in 2007). A burly man with a gruff voice who enjoyed lifting weights, he was a gentle and loving animal doctor, dad and granddad.
His tender heart often generated sentimental tears, and he regularly told his family, “I love you and I’m proud of you.” We will miss his big warm hugs and laughter.
Charlie’s high school yearbook (Frackville, 1959) said he had a “strange sense of humor,” which kept people laughing even in his final days.
Doc earned his B.S. from Penn State and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell (1966). An ivy league graduate, he wasn’t the slightest bit pretentious: just a regular guy from Frackville, wearing work pants and a t-shirt, driving his pick-up truck, listening to bluegrass music, and working in his garden.
He cooked dinner every night for his family, and did most of the carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work in his home and business, having learned numerous trades from teenage summer jobs. In the 1980s, he installed a wood burning system to heat the house and spent weekends with his children cutting down trees and evenings splitting firewood after work.
He was proud to have become an Eagle Scout before his thirteenth birthday. He was a member of the Frackville Elks since 1963, serving a number of years as trustee and house committee member, and was Frackville Girls’ Softball treasurer for many years.
Doc’s parents are the late Leonard and Pauline Yodis Thomas. A brother, David C. Thomas, predeceased him.
He was proud to have wooed and wed Carol Yonalunas Thomas (nurse, retired), the love of his life, in 1968, and worked and saved together to pay for college for their children and grandchildren. Carol survives along with children Charles Jr. and Jennifer Fitting (Chris) and grandchildren Christopher Fitting, Lindsey Fitting, Grace Thomas, and Joy Thomas. Doc was extremely proud of the whole bunch.
Doc is also survived by mother-in-law Sylvia Yonalunas; sister-in-law Charlene Reilly (Robert); nieces and nephews Caitlin Reilly (Danielle Purciello), Bobby Reilly, Bridget McGowan (Glenn), and Adam and Michael Thomas; great nieces and nephew Sylvie, Peyton, and Owen.
A handwritten note on Doc’s desk said, “In lieu of flowers, do something nice for someone. Help to make the country a better place.”
Funeral Services will be held Friday evening, April 1, at 7:00 p.m., at the BPOE Elks Lodge #1533, Third and Arch Sts., Frackville. Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Elks Lodge. Interment will be at the convenience of the family.