John R. Thomas, 96, of Elmhurst Twp., died Wednesday at home. He was the husband of the late Jean E. (Saitta) Thomas. John was married to his sweetheart, Jean, for 69 years.
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Born in Scranton's Hyde Park section, son of the late Chester A. and Mary V. (Evans) Thomas, John graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., in 1936. He attained his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1940 and his M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut in 1944. John was the owner, president, CEO and chairman of the board of the Wesel Manufacturing Co. in Scranton and a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Elmhurst, where he served as an elder and a Sunday school teacher, sang in the choir and was a trustee. Active in community affairs, he held positions on the board of directors of many organizations including First National Community Bank of Dunmore, AAA Motor Club of NEPA, Lacawac Sanctuary Foundation, Museum Association of Scranton and the Forest Lakes Council of the Boy Scouts of America. John also served as the president of the Scranton Industrial Development Corp., a division of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and was on the board of directors of the North Pocono Joint School Authority and previously the Elmhurst School District. He also belonged to many organizations including St. David's Society of Scranton, Shriners International, was a past president and life member of the Lackawanna Audubon Society, Hyde Park Lodge 339 of the Masons, where he received his 50 years Masonic service emblem, and was on the Lodge Council Chapter Consistory in the Scottish Rite.
John is survived by his two daughters, Barbara Harder and her husband, Frank, Philadelphia; and Sue Thomas, Ambler; his grandchildren, Jason and Jeffrey; and his cousin, Cynthia Thomas Stuck, White Bear Lake, Minn. He was also preceded in death by a sister, Helen Thomas.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Interment will be private at Fairview Memorial Park in Elmhurst Twp. Cremation took place at Strauch Cremation Center & Crematory in Lehigh Twp. Arrangements are entrusted to Brian Arthur Strauch Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, 3 First St., Spring Brook Twp.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Elmhurst, 108 Maple St., Elmhurst Twp., PA 18444, or to Lackawanna Audubon Society, P.O. Box 1372, Scranton, PA 18501.
To leave an online condolence, visit www.strauchfu
Published in Scranton Times on May 4, 2014