Date of Birth
Date of Death
Roland “Rollie” M. Thomas, age 83, of Elburn, passed away surrounded by the love and prayers of his family, on Thursday, January 2, 2020.
He was born August 26, 1936, in Albia, IA, to proud parents, Morgan and Ethel (Sandeen) Thomas.
Rollie grew up in Albia and attended local schools. He not only went to school but took on the mantle of caretaker for his siblings. If you needed anything, Rollie was first in line. He graduated from Albia High School with the class of 1954 and was a proud member of the FFA where showed his cattle.
In July after graduation, Rollie travelled to Elburn and tried his hand at welding in Sycamore for a time. The business closed shortly thereafter and Rollie returned to Albia, only to turn back around to Elburn; where he found employment as a butcher at the Elburn Packing Plant. Rollie made a name for himself on the floor to the point it took two men to do his job if ever he went on vacation. The packing plant closed down in 1985 which brought him to Alumx, an aluminum manufacturing plant that was then based in West Chicago. He “retired” in name only, finding work as a delivery driver for NAPA. When he wasnâ€™t behind the wheel for NAPA, he drove with Martha delivering the Elburn Herald.
Rollie met Martha Gordon in January 1955, as she walked with her girlfriends. If it wasnâ€™t love at first sight, it was darn close. Eventually he managed to meet her properly and the rest became a 65 year love affair, all but three of them as a married couple. They walked down the aisle, hand in hand, and heart to heart, on February 1, 1958. They began their new life together in Plano for time before renting some land in Maple Park for their trailer. Rollie and Martha were blessed with their first child, Ronnie, in 1959. A year later, the now growing family moved on to Pierce St. in Elburn and made their house a home. They would eventually be blessed with five children.
Rollie enjoyed family day trips to Lake Geneva, taking advantage of many picnic areas. Rollie was never one to waste anything. Both he and his son, Ronnie, would scavenge scrap metal from the area. Gardening was a passion as well. He planted corn, pumpkins, and a myriad of vegetables that were dutifully canned after every harvest, a talent he learned from his mother. Rollie paid particular attention and care (unless they did something “stupid”) raising rabbits which he then gave to his grandchildren as a part of their membership with 4-H. Rollie loved the company of friends and a cold beer in hand, but his devotion to family was fathomless. Nothing was more important to him, and the memories he made with his grandchildren will never be forgotten.
He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Martha; four children: Connie (Steve) Clement, Bonnie (Dallas) Keys, Lonnie (Julie) Thomas and Donnie (Heather) Thomas; nine grandchildren: Matt (Lauren) Clement, Brandon (Dominique) Clement, Stephanie (Zach) Knutsen, Jessica Keys, Nathan Keys, Tyler (Melanie) Thomas, Owen Thomas, Hallie Thomas and Morgan Thomas; two great-grandsons: Ben Clement and Tristan Thomas; three siblings: Dave (Wanda) Thomas, Lois (Dan) Hall and Harry (Debbie) Thomas; sisters-in-law, Vivian “Button”- Thomas and Gloria Thomas; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a family of friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Morgan and Ethel Thomas; a step-mom, Alice Thomas; one son Ronnie Thomas and three brothers, Garold Thomas, Larry Thomas and Edward “Shorty” Thomas.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL. Additional visitation will be from 10-11 a.m., Wednesday, January 8, also at the funeral home, with a funeral service to celebrate his life to follow at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Rollieâ€™s name. Checks may be made to the “Roland Morgan Thomas Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com.
Additional visitation will be from 10-11 a.m., Wednesday, January 8, also at the funeral home, with a funeral service to celebrate his life to follow at 11 a.m.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL.
Interment will follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn.