George Thomas, 87, Hicksville resident, dies
"My dad lived the American dream," said his son, Mark Thomas, of Hicksville.
At Hicksville High School, he played football, basketball and ran track, holding the pole vault record for 25 years, Mark Thomas said.
While serving in Bastogne, Belgium, Thomas and a dozen other soldiers were captured by German tank troops, his son said. They were mistreated by the enemy, forced into hard labor and required to sleep outside, with no change of clothes.
"But he got homesick and returned to Hicksville after a couple of months," the son said.
Thomas married Frances Caruso in 1947. In 1949, Thomas and a partner, James McGeever -- who married Frances' sister, Rose -- started the Long Island Furniture Co. in Babylon. Thomas retired and closed the business in 2005.
He was a member of a Northport POW group and the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Hicksville Post 3211. He was also an usher at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Hicksville.
Survivors also include another son, George, of Oakdale; two daughters, Laureen Clark of Port Jefferson Station, and Patricia Budinich of Hicksville; two brothers, Charles, of Riverhead, and James, of Syosset; a sister, Marjorie Cummings of Huntington; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass was held at St. Ignatius on Monday. Burial followed at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.