To those we lost this year and have meant so much to us.
December 13, 1941— November 16, 2020
Grantham Thomas, age 78, beloved husband, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and cousin died peacefully at home on Monday, November 16, 2020 after a long bout with cancer. Born in Brooklyn on December 13, 1941 to Jesse Edward Thomas and Mary Mathews Thomas, he spent most of his early life first in New Rochelle, NY, later in St. Louis, Missouri, and then in Greenwich, Connecticut, where his father, a Methodist minister, was posted by the church. No matter where the family was living, however, every year Grant’s parents packed up Grant and his older brother Shailer, and the four of them spent summers at the family cabin in Monson, Maine.
Grant graduated from John Burroughs School in St. Louis and then earned a BA in Religion from Oberlin College. Later he earned a Master’s Degree in Education with a related field in Student Personnel Work in Higher Education at Syracuse University and eventually took classes at Mt. St. Mary College and passed several CLEP tests to earn his permanent teaching certification in high school English. Immediately after college Grant joined the Navy, and during the Viet Nam Conflict he served as a simultaneous translator in the Intelligence division. When he left the service, he worked at Oberlin College (Assistant Dean of Men), SUNY at Morrisville (Assistant Dean of Students), and Illinois State University (Residence Hall Faculty) where he met the love of his life, his wife Marion.
Grant balanced his academic adventures with involvement with food service, and after working for Saga Food Service as a student at Oberlin, he again worked for the company after returning from Viet Nam and served as the food service director at colleges in Massachusetts and Connecticut before being transferred to New York Military Academy. It was at NYMA that Grant first started teaching, and after leaving NYMA he spent the remainder of his career teaching for Orange-Ulster BOCES and then Rockland BOCES where he discovered both his love and talent for teaching students who were seeking their high school diplomas.
His greatest love was his church where he served in many leadership positions over the years but none as dear to his heart as beginning and supervising the monthly Fellowship Meals. Grant enjoyed everything he did, the people he worked with and for, and his church family. He cared about his pets and his friends, his family, and going to and exploring Maine.
He was a voracious reader, had a dry sense of humor, loved watching TV programs based on well-written British mystery series, watched any and all college football or ice hockey matches, and watched CNN and read The New York Times and The Washington Post. He was kind to everyone, fair and loyal, and enjoyed every minute of every day and wanted to help others to do the same.
Grant is survived by his wife, Marion Stoops Thomas; his brother Shailer, his wife Sherry, and his three sons and their families; his brother-in-law Paul George Stoops and his wife Kaye and their two daughters and their families; and many loving cousins.
A Memorial Service to celebrate Grant’s life will be held at a later date, when people can gather and enjoy reminiscing about his joy-filled life and perhaps eat some of the tuna fish sandwiches that he made famous.
Contributions in Grant’s memory may be made to the Cornwall Presbyterian Church, 222 Hudson Street, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12520, a no-kill animal rescue shelter of your choice, or the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 799 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.
Arrangements are under the direction of James F. Lulves Funeral Home. To send condolences please visit www.lulvesfuneralhome.com