Friends, family and community members gathered for a Celebration of Life Service for Morgantown business owner Joseph W. Thomas, 81, of Elverson at Hopewell Christian Fellowship Church on March 9. He died after a lengthy illness on Feb. 21 at the home of his daughter.
The church was packed. In addition to family, about 269 people signed the book at the service.
Pastor George Pickering of Warwick Bible Church presided, “Joe was a real friend. I knew him for 20 years. We liked to talk about the big motors, fast and crazy. I drove motorcycles. He liked to fly in planes. This was a man that would do anything for you, a man’s man.”
Both of his children, Joseph W. Thomas Jr., of Birdsboro, and Terri (Frank) Payne, of Morgantown, spoke at the service, along with his grandson Nicolas McDermott giving the reading. A family man, he is also survived by grandchildren Donald, Stephanie, Samantha, Amanda, Jared and Jacob; and nine great-grandchildren and preceding him in death is a daughter, Cindy Lee Mertz.
“Joe was a good friend. Joe was dependable. His faith was solid and an example of Christ-like living. His personality was always pleasant and calm as his children expressed at his funeral,” said local historian and author Jere E. Brady of Morgantown.
Joe and his wife, Roseann (Fillman) Thomas, owned and operated A2A Services-Vacs Plus on Main Street in Morgantown for more than 20 years. On Feb. 7, he and his wife celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. The business is now currently for sale by his wife Roseann.
Joe was an active member of the Morgantown Area Business Association, the Morgantown Carnival Committee, Warwick Bible Church and a social member of the Col. Jacob Morgan American Legion Post #537 in Morgantown. He was seen around the Tri County area, active in events with his wife and their beloved dogs.
“I first met Joe Thomas when I moved to the area and was cleaning up the street in front of A2A Vacs+. Joe came out and thanked me,” said Nora Filmore, MABA President. “I mentioned how people don't really care how the streets look, tossing their trash out car windows. He became very emotional, with tears in his eyes, and stated, ‘I care. Thank you.’”
Filmore and her husband had been friends with Joe and Roseann for years.
“I worked with Joe on the first two carnival committees and was involved with him one year on the Elverson Halloween Parade Committee. When I began attending MABA breakfast meetings, Joe (and Roseann) were faithful attendees and only wanted the best for their town, Morgantown. I will always remember how friendly Joe was and how he always greeted you with that huge smile. I will remember his love of his dogs, Teddy Bear and Henry. I will remember how fondly he spoke of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Joe will be missed by friends and family for many years to come,” said Filmore.
A business associate, Arnold Petersheim, of Conestoga Central Vacuum said, “Joe would always go out of his way to help you. I would go over to his store and he would go in the back and come out with something to help. He would find you an answer. He will be missed.”