Marion Joan Reich Thomas, 87, of Hancock, Maryland, passed peacefully at home on Saturday, February 12, 2022, surrounded by her family. Born on March 9, 1934, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Charles "Jerry" and Edna Mae Reich, she was the oldest of 3 children. She grew up in Blairsville, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland and Meyersdale, Pennsylvania where they lived in the family home of her father.
Marion graduated from Meyersdale High School in 1951. She was on the Maids of Honor Court of the Fourth Annual Somerset County Maple Festival that same year. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and then continued her education to receive a Master of Public Health in 1957. She served as public health nurse for Allegheny County Health Department in Pittsburgh and then Pennsylvania State Health Department in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
After an eight-year courtship, Marion married Dr. Frank B Thomas, III of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania on August 31, 1957. After finishing his residency in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, they moved to Hancock, Maryland in Fall of 1958 where they began his medical practice in Family Medicine. They worked side by side serving the people of Hancock and the surrounding communities of Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania for 48 years. They were blessed with nine children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. She was an extremely active member of St. Peter Catholic Church.
Marion is survived by her brother, Joseph Reich and wife Carol of Wexford, PA; her children, Marion Lane, of Waynesville, NC; Michael Thomas and wife Angie, of Little Orleans, MD; Theresa Pittman and Rosemarie Horz, of Hancock, MD; Charles Thomas and wife Elizabeth, of Annapolis, MD; Paul Thomas and wife Kathy, of Williamsport, MD; Elizabeth Woltemath and husband Brian, of Virginia Beach, VA; daughters-in-law Tania Thomas, of Williamsport, PA and Mary Vivian Thomas, of Berkeley Springs, WV; 30 grandchildren and 43 great grandchildren. She is also survived by numerous members of her extended family and all those who thought of her as a cherished friend or another mother.
Marion was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Dr. Frank B Thomas, III; sons Frank B Thomas, IV and Dr. Ralph E. Thomas; sons-in-law, Dr. Christopher H. Lane and Maxwell H. Horz, Jr.; sister and brother-in-law, Laura Anne and Bernard Knecht; one grandchild and two great grandchildren.
Marion, called Mother or Mom by her children, had what seemed to be a boundless supply of energy no matter the number of children or her age. We often joked that the question became “Where is Mother” when the clock chimed Midnight. Mother never hesitated to be a part of events and projects that she strongly supported like the local Bicentennial Celebration of the United States of America, the building project for what was then the new Hancock pool, PTA, fundraisers, Little League, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Although as children we may have whined at times about going to another cultural experience, we dutifully accompanied her on adventures, mostly in the “Blue Bomber” and “Golden Goose” station wagons. We went to symphonies, zoos, ballets, and museums. For example, we stood in line for what seemed like forever to see the King Tut exhibit and to this day that is one of the best memories for the older children. She shared with us her joy of plays, especially musicals, and it is now common for us to spontaneously and boisterously sing a show tune. She had quite the knack for acting and drama and we had the opportunity to develop our performance skills even if only displayed in our skits in the playroom. Who needs TV? We didn’t because we didn’t have one! Mom could do spur of the moment events like sunsets on the Potomac River with hot cocoa in the freezing cold and think it was lovely!
Mom believed in the power of being present with you. She always hugged you, even if she didn’t know you yet, because after she hugged you, you were included in her circle. She loved Dairy Queen and taught us to never pass by one without stopping for a treat. Her favorite: a hot fudge sundae with wet walnuts, whipped cream and a cherry on top. She also loved chocolate and more chocolate. For many years, she kept it hidden from us, or so she thought! She is well known as the lady who gives out chocolate, especially Hershey Kisses. She had a thankful and grateful heart, incredible patience, focus, and acceptance of people and where they were at the moment and encouraged all to take the next step to be better. She enveloped everyone she could in her embrace and made you feel special and loved.
Marion had an unwavering faith in Jesus Christ and devotion to the Divine Mercy and Our Blessed Mother. She never hesitated to speak of the love of Christ and encourage others to get to know and accept Him. In 2002, Marion and Mr. Jim Fritz learned of an opportunity to have an affiliate station of Relevant Radio, talk radio for Catholic Life with the mission to bring Christ to the world through media. With the loving support of her husband Frank, radio stations in Hancock, Maryland and Berkeley Springs, West Virginia became a reality. Both stations are operated by volunteers and funded entirely by private donations. The Hancock station is known as Splendor of Truth. It will now continue in memory of Marion and Dr. Frank B Thomas III.
Visitation will be at Grove Funeral Home in Hancock, MD on Friday, February 18, 2022, from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM; as well as one hour prior to the Funeral Mass at St. Peter Catholic Church.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Saint Peter Catholic Church, 16 E High Street, Hancock, Maryland on Saturday, February 19, 2022, at 12:00 PM. A reception and lunch will follow in the Parish Hall. All are invited.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to Splendor of Truth Radio, 32404 Sleepy Hideaway Lane, Little Orleans, MD 21766.