Obituary: Arthur Lenz Thomas, 93, of Milford
Arthur Lenz Thomas, loving husband, devoted father, grandfather, and uncle, died on October 16, 2015 in Milford, CT. He was 93 years old, and a Milford resident for 17 years.
Art was born in Springville, Utah, on March 3, 1922, to Catherine Stevenson and David R. Thomas. He attended Washington Junior High School and graduated from Ogden High School in 1940, both in Ogden, Utah.
He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served from 1940-1945, starting with a training period in Port Townsend, Washington, later going on to Government Island in Alameda, California, where he eventually worked as a telephone operator. He went to radio school at Fort Trumbull, Connecticut, in 1941-1942. He stayed on at Fort Trumbull after radio school, working at the radio station there. He met his sweetheart and the love of his life, Nicoletta Perrone, at the USO Club in Norwich, Connecticut, and they were married on 23 January 1943 in Norwich. Because he wanted to spend some time at sea, he received a transfer as a radio operator to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spruce, which patrolled in the Caribbean Sea. He spent about a year at the radio station in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before he returned to radio school training in Atlantic City, New Jersey. His last Coast Guard assignment was at Gamatron Island in Greenland from July to November in 1945, as a radio operator.
After his discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard, he returned to Norwich, Connecticut, and eventually he and his wife moved to Ogden, Utah, where he worked with his father as a painting contractor. Art enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1949 in the field of electronics, and was honorably discharged in 1974 at Travis Air Force Base (AFB) in Fairfield, California. Among his other Air Force duty stations in which he and his family lived were Harmon Field, Newfoundland; Andrews AFB, Washington, D.C.; Croughton AFB, England; Fairchild AFB in Washington; Keesler AFB in Mississippi; Chambley AFB, France; Tinker AFB in Oklahoma; Hanscom Field in Massachusetts. He also had assignments at Cold Bay, Alaska, and Clark AFB, Philippines.
After retirement from the Air Force in 1974, he and his wife moved to North Ogden, Utah, to be closer to his family. He worked at Hill Air Force Base as a civilian employee for many years as an electronic technician.
Art and his wife both volunteered their time at the Bates Elementary School library. They enjoyed traveling together with family and friends. He also enjoyed listening to his short-wave radio and had a ham-radio license for many years. His love of trains came from his grandfather, James Stevenson, who worked for the railroad in Utah. He built a model railroad layout in his basement in North Ogden and enjoyed running the numerous trains he had acquired over the years.
In 1998, he and his wife moved to Milford, Connecticut, to be closer to her family. It was here where he began his new hobby of building model ships and boats. He also enjoyed reading Westerns, military and World War II histories. He loved listening to music, especially piano arrangements. In recent years he discovered that he was a descendant of five Milford founders, eight Revolutionary War patriots and nine Mormon pioneers.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother James R. Thomas, sister Diane T. Wilson, sister-in-law Jean Thomas of Weslaco, Texas, and his loving wife, Nicoletta P. Thomas.
He is survived by his two daughters, Leslie (Tom) Hoffman of Grand Junction, Colorado, and Patti (Anthony) Cacciabaudo of Milford, Connecticut; three granddaughters, Christina (Pershing) Markle of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Lisa (Jen) Cacciabaudo of Watertown, Massachusetts, and Cara Cacciabaudo of Milford, Connecticut; brother-in-law, Henry Wilson of Riverdale, Utah; and sister-in-law, Martha Perrone of Fitchville, Connecticut, and many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited for visitation from 11 to 1 on Friday, October 23 at Smith Funeral Home, 135 North Broad St., Milford, CT. A Prayer Service will be officiated by Deacon Sennett at 12:30 p.m. during the visitation.
Interment will be at the Utah Veterans Cemetery in Bluffdale, Utah, at a date to be determined by the family with full Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital may be made in Arthur’s memory at www.stjude.org, or 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675 or www.woundedwarriorproject.org/Donate.