BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Winston Arthur Thomas left this world cradled in the arms of his beloved wife, Laura (Potter) Thomas on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 – one day shy of their eighth wedding anniversary.
Thomas swaggered into this world on Jan. 7, 1943, when Elvis first took the stage as a little boy. He liked “the King” so much that he visited Graceland on four separate occasions. He was fond of saying his birthday was one day off from Elvis’s. Thomas was born in Newport, Vt., the son of Frances Parker and Arthur ‘Duke’ Thomas. He attended grade school in Newport, then the family moved to Westminster, Vt.
Thomas graduated from Bellows Falls High School in 1961. After attending a couple of years at Northampton Junior College in Northampton, Mass., Thomas enlisted in the Vermont National Guard, serving at home at the North Springfield Armory. The flip of a coin literally brought Thomas to California, where he ended up staying for several years, working in various trades. Thomas’s love of Mexican food was born there, when he rented an apartment in the home of a Mexican family. He was renowned for his tacos!
After returning to the east coast, Thomas eventually found himself working in sales at WTSA-AM & FM in Brattleboro, Vt. There he found some lifelong friends and a treasure trove of stories to go along with them. His WTSA family was very special to him. Thomas was a mentor, coach, and supporter to many over the course of his life. He was the embodiment of someone who had a lot of moxie. He knew people and how to relate to them, which made him an excellent sales representative. As a member of the United Electrical Radio and Machinist Union #218, Thomas advocated for the rights of his fellow employees, and wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power.
Thomas loved gardening, antiquing, camping, motorcycles, and the Boston Celtics. He relished time spent with family and friends, telling stories from his wild days in California, as well as his younger days growing up in Vermont in the 1950s. In addition to his wife Laura and her four children Emily, Jane, Max and Carrie, Winston leaves two daughters: Martha Faxon and her children Lucas, Drew and Bo; and Dawn Thomas-Contryman and her children Zaedyn, Blaise and Trae. He loved his family very much.
He is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. Thomas was predeceased by his parents, and his brother Philip (aka Sonny), as well as his dear friends Bruce LaChapelle of Springfield, Vt. and Brian Jones of Langdon, N.H. The family would like to thank Rescue Inc. and the emergency room staff at BMH as well as his friend and neighbor Harry Paige for always being there to lend a hand.
Memorial donations can be made to Red Knights Vermont Chapter II, Post Office Box 8032, Brattleboro, VT 05304-8032. Calling hours will be held Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fenton & Hennessey Funeral Home, 55 Westminster Street, Bellows Falls, VT.
A Celebration of Thomas’s life will be held Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at 4 p.m. at the Evening Star Grange in Dummerston Center, Vt. This will be an informal event. Since music and socializing were a big part of Thomas’s life, friends are encouraged to bring musical instruments.