Robert E. Thomas, who sang in barbershop quartets and was a semiprofessional boxer, died Monday (Dec. 20, 1999) in his Lackawanna home after a brief illness. He was 71.
A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Thomas joined the Marine Corps in 1946 and became a member of the Marine Corps boxing team. For two years, he traveled extensively with the Marine Corps, participating in exhibition matches for the troops.
After his stint with the Marine Corps ended in 1948, he continued to box semiprofessionally. His boxing career ended in 1950, when he married Eleanor McGlynn.
In 1951, he went to work for Bethlehem Steel Corp. in Lackawanna, where he worked until 1983.
For 35 years, Thomas was active in the Buffalo Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, singing with barbershop groups in both Buffalo and East Aurora.
He was a member of Matthew Glab Post 1477, American Legion, and Post 898, Veterans of Foreign Wars, both in Lackawanna. He and his wife were active in the Scranton Area Club of Western New York and the West Seneca Social Club.
In 1996, Thomas was inducted into the Wyoming Valley (Pa.) Boxing Hall of Fame.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Ronald of Lackawanna and Robert of Kenmore; two daughters, Lorraine Thomas of Lackawanna and Susan Hayes; five sisters, Florence Parry, Betty Stefanovich, Lois Dana, Shirley Siegel and Jacqueline Murray; and nine grandchildren.
Services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Nightengale Funeral Home, 1884 South Park Ave., followed by military services and burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna.