PHILADELPHIA, NY — Francis Xavier Thomas, 66, of Ore Bed Road, Philadelphia, NY, passed away early Friday morning, Oct. 21, 2022, from multiple medical complications after a three week stay at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY. Our hearts are broken, needless to say.
Fran was born Oct. 7, 1956, in Pittsburgh, PA, the son of Francis Xavier Thomas and Margaret Flynn Thomas. He grew up in Newport and Middleville, NY. and graduated from West Canada Valley High School in 1975. Fran continued his education at Niagara University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in science education. Fran met his wife Eleanor at Niagara University while in Biology and Chemistry labs together, and his best friend Phil Diffley, his roommate for 3 years at Niagara. After their marriage in 1981, the couple moved to Number 4 near Lowville NY. Fran taught Physics and Human Anatomy and Physiology at Lowville Academy Central School from 1979 – 1983 and coached the swim team. While working at LACS he met his lifelong best friends “The Barkeaters”.
Fran returned to college, earning an Associate’s degree in Respiratory Therapy at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY in 1985. Fran and Eleanor then moved to Theresa, NY, living on Commercial Street and met more lifetime friends, prior to purchasing their current home and land in Philadelphia, NY. The majority of Fran’s professional career was spent working for Lincare as a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Center Manager, and District Manager. He also spent time working at EJ Noble Hospital as Director of the Cardiopulmonary Department, Lewis County General Hospital as a Sleep Lab Therapist, and River Hospital as the Director of the Respiratory Department. Through the course of his career, he enjoyed meeting and working with wonderful colleagues and patients throughout the North Country.
Fran enjoyed playing his guitar, cooking wonderful food and hosting get togethers, especially the Munka Lake Fests annually for seventeen years, and wine tasting parties. He found peace and calmness in his property, nature, listening to the wildlife and watching sunrise and sunsets.
Fran is survived by his wife, Eleanor Thomas, and his son Brady Francis Thomas and his wife Courtney (Edgar) Thomas and their daughters Calla and Brenna, of Theresa, NY. Also his sisters Kathy (Art) VanVechten of Verona, NY, Patty (Charly) Smail of Hammondsport, NY, and Terry (Keith) Fulmer of Manhattan, NY, his step brother Peter (Faye) Sokolosky of Old Forge,NY and stepsister Judy (Tom) Riiska of Las Vegas, NV, and numerous, nieces, nephews and cousins. Fran’s parents, in-laws Jim and Eleanor O’Hern of Liverpool, NY, and many other beloved family members predeceased him.
Eleanor was blessed to spend 45 years with the love of her life. His family is especially thankful that we had him with us for the past 6 years, after his stroke in 2016. He was able to dance at Brady and Courtney’s wedding, and to shower his much beloved granddaughters, Calla and Brenna, with his love. He spent his last years doing some of his most favorite things- enjoying time with his family, wondering at the beauty of his River Run camp on the Independence River and his Munka Lake Property on Ore Bed, exploring dirt roads in his 1992 jeep, playing his guitars, hunting, mowing the lawn, driving his tractor, running Thomas Supply, and being a foodie.
Family, friends, colleagues…we hope that you find solace in happy memories of Fran being Fran… or Frannie, Franhalen, Franimal, Frankie, Francois, Franswaby, Swabdog, Swabby, Fran Fran the funny man…however you knew him. Thanks for being part of our lives. As Calla and Brenna grow older, please share memories of Fran with them so they know just who their Grampy was.
Fran was a good, kind man – both to people he knew, and to unknown strangers. If you would like to do something in his remembrance, carry out an act of kindness for someone in need, then have a beer to toast to him. Also donations may be made in his name to Indian River Ambulance Service, 6.5 Sand Steet, Philadelphia NY 13673.
Calling hours will be 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at Fredrick Bros. Funeral Home in Theresa, NY. There will be a private service for family in lieu of a public funeral. His remains will be interred in Oakwood Cemetery in Theresa, NY.
To leave condolences go to www.frederickbrosfuneralhome.com and access the obituary. Click on the Tribute Wall located on the top left.