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Edward Thomas, 82 years old, of Naples, Florida, and formally from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, died on January 16, 2011, at Naples Community Hospital. Edward was born on the 15th of November in 1928. He was born in Homs, Syria and came to America with his parents, Ghattas and Sameera Thomas, at the age of 17. They resided in Homestead, Pennsylvania, where he graduated from Homestead High School. He went on to become an American citizen and then he served in the United States Army as a forward observer in the Korean War. He and his brothers and sister are examples of the American Dream. All worked hard for United States Steel and went on like Edward to become restaurant owners, both Charles (deceased) and William; or doctors, Harold, George and James … all from the Cleveland, Ohio, area. His sister, Faye, married Ralph Assi and moved to El Paso, Texas, where she currently resides. He then married the former Mary Ann Elias of El Paso, Texas, in 1953. While in Pittsburgh he was the General Manager of Poli's Restaurant until he moved to Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where he purchased Hunters Hollow Taverne which was always a top 10 dining experience in the Cleveland area.
While in Chagrin Falls, the highlight of his life was always the Christmas season where he kindly gave away hot chocolate to all who came to Chagrin Falls to see the lighting of the downtown area for Christmas. Equally important to him was his Dinner with Santa that he had for the children each year. At this dinner he would bring Santa to his restaurant either by helicopter or by a Clydesdales drawn wagon and after dinner and a toy, the children were personally placed by him on the wagon for a ride around the town.
He retired to Naples at age 65 where he lived until now. In December of 2010 he became a 50 Year Member of the Masons. He was a member of the Hardee Mills Post 135 of The American Legion. He was a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7721.
Edward is survived by his wife, Mary Ann; his son, Dr. David; and his wife, Elaine; his daughter, Lynn; and her husband, Richie Elias; and his son, George. He is also survived by his grandchildren... Edward, Deidra, Matthew, Robert, Susan, Ralph, Kristina and Dominic. He is also survived by his 2 God-sons, Dr's. Muneer and Edward Assi as well as his many nieces and nephews.
The focus of Edward's retirement has been in his being one of the original founders of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in North Naples. At St. Paul he served as Head Usher. The viewing took place Tuesday, January 18, 2011, at Naples Funeral Home, 3107 Davis Boulevard, Naples, FL 34104. Phone 239.775.4255. Eddie was waked Wednesday, January 19, 2011, at St. Paul Church with The Very Reverend Father Joseph Shaheen conducting the funeral services. Burial was at Palm Royale Cemetery. Pallbearers were Edward Thomas, Matthew Thomas, Robert Elias, Ralph Elias, Edward Assi and Muneer Assi. Honorary Pallbearers were Harold Thomas, William Thomas, George Thomas, James Thomas, Robert Aber and Gino Oppedisano.
It was Edward's wish that contributions in his memory be earmarked for the Outdoor Pavilion at St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, 2425 River's Rd., Naples, FL, 34120. To sum up Edwards life in his own words... "I worked hard and I played hard."
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