Erwin Henry Thomas, age 97, of Hamburg, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Glen Fields Living with Care in Glencoe.
Erwin was born Sept. 30, 1923, in Hamburg. His parents were William and Elise (Prehn) Thomas. Erwin was baptized Oct. 14, 1923, and confirmed March 21, 1937, at Emanuel Lutheran Church of Hamburg. His confirmation verse was: II Timothy 2:8: “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.”
Erwin’s mother, Elise, died in 1945, just as he was about to be drafted. Because of her death, he was allowed to remain and work on the farm with his father. Erwin lived on his family farm, where he was born, for 68 years.
Erwin married Gertrude Martha Jenneke Oct. 5, 1944, at the bride’s home in Plato. This marriage was blessed with two children Gerald and Jean. After their marriage, Erwin and Gertrude continued working on the Thomas farm, and together they farmed for 47 years. When they started farming, they used both horses and tractors to do the work. They also had a dairy herd, raised pigs, and chickens.
In 1973, the dairy cattle were sold, and Erwin took to raising hogs and cash cropping. In 1991, the farm was sold, and they moved to the home they built in Hamburg. In 2014, they moved to Peace Villa, in 2016 they moved to The Harbor, and in 2018 to Glencoe Regional Health Care Long Term Care.
During his lifetime, Erwin did many things. He was a faithful member of Emanuel Lutheran Church, sang in the men’s choir for 48 years, also sang in the mixed choir, was an elder, was congregation secretary, Board of Education member, served on building committees, treasurer of a variety of funds, helped to organize and was a member of Silver Seniors, member of Men’s Club, and coached a girls’ softball team for many years. He also was on the Board of Education for Public School 59 in Hamburg, served on the Hamburg Dairy and Minnesota Valley Dairy boards as a member and as their treasurer, worked for the Hamburg Farmers’ Store for a period of time, sold DeKalb seed corn for many years, retiring in 2002.
Erwin was also a Mayer Lutheran High School founder, MLHS Board of Directors member, and was a delegate for many years, and was a Meals on Wheels driver.
Erwin’s hobbies included traveling with Gert; they enjoyed visiting many states. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, playing golf, working with numbers, and playing cards.
His children’s friends were always welcome at their home. Gary Specketer became a regular during Gerald’s high school/college years; Jean’s friends Mary Baumann and Gayle Walsh were also frequent visitors. Erwin will also be remembered for his love of chocolate chip cookies.
Erwin is preceded in death by his parents, William and Elise Thomas; sister and brothers-in-law, Rosella and Vernon Lueck, and Bill Leistiko; sister and brother-in-law, Elisa and Albert Cohrs; and great-grandson, Brady Thomas.
Erwin is survived by his loving family: spouse, Gertrude; son and daughter-in-law, Gerald and Marlys Thomas of Mayer; daughter, Jean Thomas of NYA; grandchildren, Todd Thomas and wife Kris of Mayer, Kim Miller and husband Marty of Champlin; great-grandchildren, Riley Thomas, Megan Thomas, William Miller, Zoey Miller; sister-in-law, Verona Herrmann; good friends, Mary Baumann, Gayle Walsh, and Gary Specketer; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends.
Memorials are preferred to Emanuel Lutheran Church or Mayer Lutheran High School. a memorial service will take place at a later date.
Arrangements are by the Paul-McBride Funeral Chapel of Norwood Young America.