Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Remembering Charles Thomas Thomas

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Remembering Charles Thomas Thomas

Article excerpt

On Jan. 16, the Honorable Charles Thomas Thomas, former Mayor of Millburn, joined the love of his life, Joan Mossey Thomas in the presence of the Lord. He is survived by his three children; Tara Coniaris (Jeffery), Heather Thomas, and CJ Thomas (Kim) as well as his five grandchildren, Erin (William), Justin, Charlie, Kendall and Christopher, all of whom made this past Christmas such a joyful event for him.

Tom grew up in New Jersey, spending most of his formative years in Spring Lake. From an early age he was dedicated to public service. He and his good friend William E. Simon would spend days giving the benches a cleaning in the town lake (leaving their removal to the town employees), as well as cooling off summer moviegoers by spraying water through the theater's open windows.

By the age of 15 he was working at the beach renting umbrellas and chairs to the tourists, earning the then enviable sum of $16.22 for a week of hard labor.

During the winter months, after a short stint at St. Rose H.S. in Belmar his father thought he might do better in an all boy's environment. It may have had something to do with his homework bearing a striking resemblance to that of one of his female classmates. He then commuted to Fordham Prep in the Bronx. He would hop on the train in Spring Lake at 4:30 in the morning in order to arrive on time for 7:30 Mass. On one occasion, when the trains were running late, he did not arrive in time for the service. Upon explaining his daily commute, he was given no punishment and earned the respect of his headmaster for his dedication to his education.

He later moved on to Blair Academy where he was quarterback of the football team and graduated in the Class of 1946.

Tom attended Lafayette College where he excelled in both academics and social activities on his way towards graduation. He then joined the Marine Corp through the officer's candidate program, reaching the rank of captain prior to his Honorable Discharge. In honor of his "higher ups" in the Marines, he named the family dog Major. It was upon losing his roommate and close friend to the Korean War that he committed himself to weekly church attendance. He continued as often as possible throughout the rest of his life.

He had the opportunity to study at the Sorbonne in Paris on the GI bill. His time in France, spent embracing the local culture and traveling throughout Europe, would lead to a lifelong joy of travel. Upon returning to the States, he entered the executive training program (mailroom) in advertising at Ted Bates & Co. While there, he entered and won the prestigious Gold Medal Award award for advertising, gaining the attention of management. He was immediately moved to the fast track where he became, in the words of a dear cousin, "The Word" on Madison Avenue. He left Madison Avenue to join Wayne Steel Company at the behest of his mother in-law at the time of her husband's heart attack. …

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