Published March 29, 2019
Frank was born in Chelsea on November 5, 1940, one of four children of the late Edgar W. Thomas and Effie (Penney) Thomas. Raised in Melrose, Frank graduated from Melrose High School, Class of 1959. While in high school, Frank met classmate Patricia Leeman, they fell in love and were married in December of 1959. Frank and Pat lived in Melrose for several years before raising two children in Saugus. Frank worked as a Field Engineer for IBM for 30 years.
Frank was born with a curious and mechanical mind. At the age of five, he took apart his father’s watch, and by 16 he had rebuilt the engine of his Ford Mustang. A born engineer, Frank was naturally gifted with the ability to take things apart and put them back together. As a young man, he worked in construction, building homes in the Melrose area. With a vast knowledge base from years of experience, he could fix anything. A self-taught mechanic, he loved repairing his Mustangs and was always willing to help. Frank also enjoyed woodworking, doing crafts, and building model rockets.
A longtime member of the First United Methodist Church, Frank often shared his expertise in engineering by offering to maintain or improve the infrastructure at the church. He and wife Pat also volunteered for many church events, fairs and served on the Board of Trustees. From a young age, Frank was a HAM radio enthusiast (WA1WYA) and enjoyed talking to people around the world, even astronauts. He also enjoyed spending time on Bow Lake in New Hampshire during the summer or visiting Green Acres in Florida with family in the winter.
Frank’s biggest passion in life was flying. In the early 1970’s, Frank earned his pilot’s license and with a twinkle in his eye enjoyed his farewell flight in 2018. He simply loved to fly, and loved to shared his passion with his family. He flew throughout New England often times with his wife Pat by his side. He flew his family to Pennsylvania, and took a trip along the coast to Florida. For several years, he enjoyed going to the air show in Lakeland, Fla. He also enjoyed volunteering as a pilot for Angel Flight NE.
Frank was a well-loved man. He endeared himself to many with humble advice, thoughtful conversation, or a genuine word. Frank was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He will be deeply missed, but his easy smile and authentic spirit will carry on in the hearts and minds of his family.
Frank was the beloved husband of the late Patricia A. “Pat” (Leeman) Thomas with whom he shared 58 years of marriage. Devoted father of Sharon L. DiDonato and her husband Stephen of Saugus, and Scott Thomas and his wife Sharon of Wilmington. Loving brother of Valerie Durland and her husband Bill of Tuftonboro, N.H., and the late Audrey Tanner and her late husband Henry “Don,” and the late Robert J. Thomas. Cherished brother-in-law of Janice DeHart and her husband Don of Reading. Proud grandfather of Jonathan Pozzi, Zachary Thomas, Heather Pozzi, and Megan Thomas. Also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.
Relatives and friends gathered in honor and remembrance of Frank’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Sunday, March 24 and for his funeral service at the First United Methodist Church, 645 Main St., Melrose, celebrated on Monday. Interment at Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose. Gifts in Frank’s memory may be made to Angel Flight NE, Lawrence Municipal Airport, 492 Sutton St., North Andover, MA 01845. For online tribute or directions visit RobinsonFuneralHome.com