For 37 years, Thomas worked for coated-glove maker Edmont Manufacturing Co., starting in 1951 in the customer service department and climbing to the rank of senior vice president when he retired.
At his retirement dinner, Thomas was described as the "moral compass" of the company.
In 1989, Edmont – which, at the time, was a division of Becton, Dickinson and Company – was purchased by Pacific Dunlop Ltd. and was merged with Pacific Dunlop's Ansell International Industrial Division to create Ansell Edmont Industrial. The company eventually became what today is Ansell Healthcare Inc., a Red Bank, N.J.-based manufacturer of hand protection and safety apparel.
An Akron, Ohio, native, Thomas was a U.S. Navy veteran who served as a navigator on an LST for 3 years in the Pacific Ocean during World War II.
Following the war, Thomas attended the Commerce College of the Ohio State University and graduated in 1949. He was a member of the Ohio State University President's Club and was an avid football fan and alumnus.
In addition to his memberships in numerous community organizations in Coshocton, Ohio, Sea Island, Ga., and Flat Rock, N.C., Thomas served as president of the U.S. Glove Manufacturing Association.