STRUTHERS, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Larry J. Thomas, 74, passed away early Wednesday morning, May 5, 2021 with his loving family at his side.
Larry was born November 30, 1946 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, a son of the late Charles and Evelyn Stimer Thomas.
Raised in Struthers, Larry graduated from Struthers High School, Class of 1964.
He worked at Youngstown Steel Door prior to becoming the groundskeeper for the former Fonderlac Club and later The Lake Club. He retired from the Lake Club after 30 years of service.
Larry, a United States Army Veteran served in Vietnam until he was wounded from September of 1966 until February of 1967. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Larry spent much of his life being involved in all sports and doing what he loved best, coaching. He played in many men’s basketball leagues and was commissioner and a coach of the Men’s Metro Softball League. His daughters spent many Sunday afternoons at Rocky Ridge and Volney Rogers keeping the scorebook. Larry actively participated in his daughters’ sports activities and coached them in softball. Later, being blessed with grandsons, he naturally coached them as they played little league football. He also was very proud of his granddaughters who cheered for SLW and played in Struthers Girls Softball. Time spent coaching for the Struthers Little Wildcats was truly a family affair for the Thomas family and many still call him “Coach Papa.” Larry could also be found rooting for his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers and was an avid fan of the Struthers Wildcats. He loved watching his daughter, grandchildren, nieces and nephews participate in sports, whether it was Poland girls softball, Boardman baseball and golf, or Struthers football, basketball and softball.
Quality time with family was a priority for Larry, whether it was attending family sporting events, camping, or time spent having fun with his grandkids and friends. He also enjoyed vacationing with his family and trips to Florida with his best friend and partner, Mary Profeta.
Larry leaves to carry on his memory, his loving companion, Mary at home; daughters, Sheri (Thomas) Noble of Struthers, Kathy (David) Fait of Boardman and Diane (Daniel) Wilkos of Struthers. He also leaves Vincent (Brooke) Pesa of New Middletown, who was like a son to Larry; brother, Bryan (Virginia) Thomas of Struthers; nine grandchildren, Tyler and Troy Noble, Jacob (Lauren Robinson) Fait, Kristi (John) Martinez, Kyle, Todd, Travis and Dana Wilkos and Lillie Pesa and one great-grandchild, Cruz Martinez.
In addition to his parents, Larry was preceded in death by his former wife, Patricia Thomas; long-time companion, Carmel Buras and his nephew, Dale Thomas.
A private service honoring Larry’s life will be held for family at the Struthers United Methodist Church with Pastor Doug Theobald officiating.
In lieu of flowers, Larry’s family requests memorial tributes in memory of Larry J. Thomas take the form of contributions to Struthers Girls Basketball Boosters, 319 Deer Creek Drive, Struthers, OH 44471.
Arrangements handled by Becker Funeral Homes.
To send flowers to Larry’s family, please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Sunday, May 9, at the following approximate times: 6:27 p.m. on WYTV and 6:58 p.m. on MyYTV.