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THOMAS, John J.

THOMAS - John J. Passed from this life peacefully at his home in Boca Raton, FL, on Monday January 1, 2018, at the age of 97. Born on November 4, 1920 in North Collins, NY he was the loving son of Angelo and Ortensia Thomas (nee Casolina). He was a graduate of North Collins High School. In the dawn of the 1900s, John's destiny as a farmer was sowed in a field outside of Buffalo, New York, with a few sticks of dynamite. His father, Angelo, dynamited old stumps to clear the land in favor of beans and other vegetables. As an infant he was out in the fields with his parents, even though he was too young to pick. He always said: "My mother put me in a bushel basket, so I could stay close to them while they worked in the fields." By the 1930s, the family was growing crops for canning: beans, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, raspberries, and strawberries. After World War II, the industry in New York began to change, with vegetables grown for canning moving to other states. John had his eye on Florida where he believed the fresh winter vegetable market could be a good one. By the late 1950s John had his first crop of beans, squash and bell pepper on 800 acres in southern Palm Beach County. Thomas Farms later became J&N Farms, and in 1985 it became Thomas Produce Company, still operating on the northeast corner of 441 and Clint Moore Road in Boca Raton. It is ranked as one of the Top 100 Growers in the United States. John's seven children joined him in the business, along with hundreds of dedicated employees, providing quality vegetables to customers who want to be sure they were getting the freshest produce available. Thomas Produce Company is recognized as one of the largest vegetable-growing operations in the state of Florida, with thousands of acres in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Hendry counties. John's life was farming, but he enjoyed spending time with his loving family. He instilled a strong work ethic in all of his children. He enjoyed going back to Buffalo in the summer, visiting old friends, and having a Ted's hotdog. He loved his Miami Dolphins and still called their stadium Joe Robbie Stadium. He enjoyed going to the Boca Raton Hotel and Club, especially the Sunday brunch. In July of 2017, John was predeceased by his wife of 72 years, Norma Thomas (nee Lamb). He is survived by their children, John Thomas, Jr. (Candace), Norman Thomas (Adria), Jane Andershock, Kathleen LaSalle (Tom), Cynthia Thomas (Manuel), Jeffrey Thomas (Sally), and Stephen Thomas (Suzanne), 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; also survived by Patricia Thomas and their children, Deborah Leising (Michael), Donald Thomas (Lisa), Michael Thomas and Patricia Lynn Shutt (Winston), and 9 grandchildren. John was predeceased by his seven brothers and sisters. He is survived by many loving nieces and nephews, who will forever miss their Uncle Johnny. The family would like to thank caregivers, Dolores Urroz, Mazmeen Maharaj, Sadeta Pavlinovic and Zhannet Verderosa for all their love and support. A visitation will be held from 4-8 PM on Tuesday, January 9, at GLICK FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, 3600 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton. A second visitation will be held at a later date at WENTLAND FUNERAL HOME, 10634 Main St., North Collins, NY. A funeral Mass will also be held at a later date at the Holy Spirit Church in North Collins, NY. In lieu of flowers the families request that contributions in John's memory be made to Holy Spirit Church, 2017 Halley Rd., North Collins, NY 14111, The George Snow Scholarship Fund 201 Plaza Real Suite #260 Boca Raton, FL 33432 or a charity of your choice. Condolences can be made at glickfamilyfuneralhome.com

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Glick Family Funeral Home

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