Ernest Eugene Thomas

Bergen – Ernest Eugene Thomas, 76 years of age, of Bergen and Penn Yan passed away on January 31st, surrounded by his family. Ernest was the son of the late Ernest Lewis Thomas and the late Irene Delia Scofield Thomas of Penn Yan, New York.  He is survived by his  two sisters Virginia Wagner (the late Joseph Wagner) and Beverley Wells (Pete Wells), wife Sally Fodge Thomas of 49 years, his children Martha Otto (Samuel), Wendy Cheruiyot (Kennedy), Mark Thomas (Nicole), and grandchildren Elijah, Luke, and Kyle Otto; Isaac and Ileana Cheruiyot; Zachary Marshall and Connor and Brynn Thomas.

He was born in Penn Yan, New York.  He was known to his sisters as “Sonny” and was a beloved little brother to both Virginia and Beverley.  As a high school graduate, Ernest joined the United States Air Force, where he served his country as a bomber mechanic. After his years in the service, he started as a mold maker, first at Nylamold and then 21 years at Kodak. 

On April 24, 1971, Ernest married Sally Frances Fodge.  Together, they had 2 beautiful girls; Martha Lynne Thomas and Wendy Annette Thomas; later Ernest and Sally adopted Mark Jae Thomas from Seoul, South Korea.  Family was one of the most important things to Ernest, and he dedicated his life to providing for and raising his three children and being a loving husband to Sally.  He found a way to connect to each of his grandkids, and he thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them.

Ernie traveled in his later years with the Gilliam Grant Community Center, loved playing Sudoku and had a passion for trains. He was an avid gardener and had a green thumb.  He loved to grow different types of vegetables each year, even dabbling in growing Carolina Reaper peppers (something his life-long friend Mike introduced him to).  Ernie was defined by a life of hard work, honesty, and being an all-around genuine person.  Ernest was able to have a conversation with anyone at any time, especially at family gatherings which happened several times a year.  He loved to spend time with his 8 grandchildren, and he enjoyed watching the trains pass by his house in Bergen (he and his wife purposefully built their house facing the railroad tracks pointed towards the west to see the sun set every evening).  He was always there to help when needed and he was a fighter right until the end.

Calling Hours will be at H.E. Turner Funeral Home, 51 South Lake Avenue, Bergen on Monday, February 3 from 4-7pm.  Funeral Services will be held at the Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 38 South Lake Avenue at 11 am on Tuesday, February 4. Burial, with military honors will follow in Mount Rest Cemetery. Flowers are graciously accepted. Donations can be made in Ernest's name to Hildebrandt Hospice Care Center, Attn: Donations, 3111 Winton Road South, Rochester, New York 14623-2905.