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EPSOM- Mr. Jon R. Thomas, 79, of Epsom, NH passed away at The Courville - Manchester, NH on August 6, 2022 after a lengthy, courageous battle of declining health.
Born in Jamestown, NY, Jon was the son of the late Edgar L. and Ruth (Ewald) Thomas. He was raised in Westfield, NY where he graduated from Westfield Academy and Central School, Class of 1960. Jon attended the University of Buffalo where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Education. He later obtained an advanced degree in Education Administration. He resided in New York State for most of his life before moving to New Hampshire three years ago.
Jon became fluent in Spanish while serving in the Peace Corps (Ecuador) for two years. His focus was on rural community development and school construction. After his Peace Corps service, he traveled to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Panama.
He began his career in 1967 teaching English & Social Studies at Brocton C.S. Between 1968-1982 at Fredonia H.S., he was a teacher of English & Spanish and then transitioned into administration as an Assistant H.S. Principal. Outside of the classroom, he was an asst. coach of Varsity Football, active with extracurricular programs: youth camping trips incorporating math, science, orienteering, astronomy, English journals, music & more. Jon served as advisor to: Conservation Club, Student Council, Activities & Fundraising Coordinator. He published an article in the SAANYS Journal: “Trust and Confidence in Public School Finance.” Outside of school, he was active with volunteer & service organizations: Little League Coach, Life Member of Westfield Fish & Game Club, Chautauqua County Chapters of Trout Unlimited (B.O.D.) and The Ruffed Grouse Society (co-founded).
Between 1982-1999, Jon and family made a new home in Addison, NY where he was the Elementary School Principal of the Addison Elementary Schools. He encouraged staff to think outside the box with learning reward-based programs such as: “The Father Goose Program” where for 2 autumns the real Father Goose, Bill Lishman guided flocks of Canada Geese by piloting an ultralight aircraft onto the ACS athletic fields. Jon lost the “Principal’s Reading Challenge” year after year with consequences of him dressing in costume such as a scuba diving clown and descending down a slide into a pool of Jell-O with the entire school celebrating their victory. He was a part of the planning teams that built the original lighted track & soccer field as well as the Nature Trail behind the Tuscarora Elementary School. Jon had the highest respect and appreciation for every staff member and their role and contribution at the Tuscarora and Valley Elementary Schools.
When Jon moved to Addison, his volunteer work and service continued: Kiwanis Club (Multi-term President), Little League Coaching, Boy Scouts (Asst. Scoutmaster & Troop Committee Chair), Addison United Methodist Church (Admin. Council Chair multi-year), Addison Youth Center (B.O.D.), Trout Unlimited, Addison F&G Club Member, Village of Addison Emergency Management Task Force, and Addison Youth Soccer (Co-founder).
As an Eagle Scout and a former athlete, Jon was active in outdoor activities. He loved and respected nature. Spending time in the outdoors with family, friends and children was Jon’s passion. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, Nordic & alpine skiing, woodworking, art, music and reading. He wrote and illustrated short stories for children.
He was predeceased by his son, Capt. Matthew Thomas, USMC
Jon is survived by his beloved wife of 53 plus years, Judy M. (Phelps) Thomas; son, Layne Thomas and his wife Bobbie Lynn of Epsom, NH; and his four adored grandchildren, Jackson, Owen, Samuel and Gweneth; his sister, Cheryl Thomas and her husband Donald Hess of Raleigh, NC; and Daughter-in-Law Sandra Surdy of Corpus Christi, TX.
In accordance with his wishes, there will be no services held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Jon R. Thomas through a scholarship being established under his name at Addison Central School. Please write checks to “Addison Central School” and clearly note intent is for the Jon R. Thomas Scholarship.
Mail to: Addison Central School
7 Cleveland Dr.
Addison, NY 14801
Assisting the family with arrangements is The Roan Family Funeral Home – Still Oaks Chapel of Epsom. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit