UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio - Earl R. Thomas, a former co-owner of the Thomas & Franz Furniture Store, died Sunday in Wyandot Memorial Hospital, Upper Sandusky. He was 77.
Mr. Thomas had leukemia. The family did not know the cause of death.
Mr. Thomas owned the store with Edward L. Franz since its inception in 1956 until retiring in 1992 soon after Mr. Franz died.
They sold furniture and carpeting.
Mr. Thomas' daughter, Corinne Casali, said her father was a hard-working family man, for whom "besides his family, faith was most important."
"The shop was open six days a week and I don't remember my dad taking a vacation," she said. "And he always laid a lot of the carpet he sold."
Mr. Thomas also coached in a Catholic Youth Organization basketball league in the 1960s.
A native of Upper Sandusky, Mr. Thomas graduated from Upper Sandusky High School in 1946 and later attended Bowling Green State University.
In retirement, Mr. Thomas was helping out at Lincoln Hills Golf Course, Upper Sandusky, which is owned by his nephew, Dave Bastel.
In his free time, Mr. Thomas enjoyed golfing, fishing, reading, and flying model airplanes.
In his earlier years, Mr. Thomas, who had a pilot's license, enjoyed flying Cessna and Grumman airplanes he owned.
Mr. Thomas was a member of Transfiguration of the Lord Church, Upper Sandusky, where he was a lector and Eucharistic minister.
His other memberships included Elks Lodge 83, of which he was a life member and past exalted ruler, and the Knights of Columbus, both in Upper Sandusky.
Surviving are his wife of 55 years, Mary Alice Thomas; son, Robert; daughter, Corinne Casali; sister, Pauline Thiel, and five grandchildren.
The body will be in the Lucas-Batton Funeral Home, Upper Sandusky, after 5 p.m. today, with a wake service at 8 tonight.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Transfiguration of the Lord Church, Upper Sandusky.
The family suggests tributes to St. Peter's Catholic School in Upper Sandusky or to a charity of the donor's choice.