Widgery Thomas Jr.
July 18, 1924 – November 22, 2018
Widgery Thomas, Jr. 1924 – 2018
SCARBOROUGH – Widgery Thomas, Jr., 94, of Scarborough, passed away surrounded by his loving family on November 22, 2018. Widgery was born at home at 31 Pine Street in Portland, Maine, on July 18, 1924, to Widgery Thomas, Sr. and Zella Bridge Thomas. He was predeceased by his wife, Joann (known as “Jonnie”), with whom he raised five children and enjoyed 60 years of love and friendship. Widgery attended Portland public schools and Governor Dummer Academy in Massachusetts, graduating in 1943. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a helmsman on a destroyer in the North Sea. At the end of the war he entered Bowdoin College and joined the Class of 1946. Widgery was the fourth generation of the Thomas family to attend Bowdoin College, and was the great-great-great-grandson of William Widgery Thomas, one of the original overseers of Bowdoin. While at Bowdoin, Widgery proudly carried on the family tradition of being a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and was a member of the swim team. Widgery met Jonnie while she was a student at Garland Junior College and they married in 1949. After graduating from Bowdoin, Widgery went to work in the sales department for the Portland Company. He eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and had a distinguished career with Canal National Bank, where he served as President and Chairman of the Board for many years. Many Portland business people gratefully recall Widgery’s willingness to work with them in building their businesses. Widgery later joined Corporate Finance, where he worked with his nephew, Seth Sprague, for many years, retiring in 2006.
Widgery was as at home on the sea as in the boardroom. As teenagers, Widgery and his good friend, John White, could be found pulling lobster traps and later sailing throughout Casco Bay. A lifelong sailor and member and past Commodore of the Harraseeket Yacht Club, Widgery and Jonnie and their five children enjoyed summer cruises down the coast of Maine in their many boats, Calypso, Andiamo, Patience, Quikstep and Cockle. Always the fierce competitor, Widgery enjoyed success on the high seas in many races, including Monhegan, Halifax, Newport to Bermuda and the Friendship Sloop races. Some of the family’s fondest memories were joining the Sprague family every winter weekend at their home in Kingfield, affectionately known as “Wee Farm.” Widgery and Jonnie taught their children to ski at Sugarloaf and shared many laughs and fun times with siblings and cousins.
Widgery and Jonnie traveled extensively and particularly enjoyed visiting England, Bermuda, Ireland, Germany, Alaska and Hawaii, and their transatlantic trip on the Queen Elizabeth 2.
Widgery was active throughout his life serving others. He served on the Board of Trustees of Governor Dummer Academy and Westbrook College/University of New England, and was an enthusiastic supporter and alumnus of Bowdoin College. Widgery was very proud of attaining the designation of Eagle Scout and served on the Board of the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts. Widgery also served as President of the YMCA Board and chaired the committee to build the Portland YMCA swimming pool. He was an active member and Trustee of his beloved Trinity Episcopal Church. In the early years, with Jonnie and five children in tow, Widgery could regularly be found at the Sunday morning service sitting in the first pew on the right side.
At the ripe old age of 50, Widgery decided to take up running. Never one to do anything half-way, Widgery pursued his new sport with a vengeance, joining the Maine Track Club and eventually running the Maine Coast Marathon and the Marine Corp Marathon. Widgery ran his last Beach to Beacon race with his daughter, Gay, at the age of 80.
Widgery and Jonnie had 10 grandchildren and enjoyed attending their many sporting events in high school and college. Widgery often traveled many miles to attend his grandchildren’s soccer and lacrosse games throughout New England and was an enthusiastic fan on the sidelines. He never missed an opportunity to watch his beloved Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins.
Widgery was a member of the Cumberland Club, Portland Country Club and the “Know Nothing Club,” a group of old friends who gathered regularly for lunch at the Portland Country Club to discuss . . . nothing. At Widgery’s father’s memorial service at Bowdoin College, it was said that he was “a man of great energy and of infinite humor.” The same can be said of Widgery, Jr. He will be remembered for his quick wit, generous nature, incredible memory and recall of Thomas genealogy.
Widgery is predeceased by his wife, Jonnie; his sons, William Thomas and Charles Thomas; and his sister, Zella Dewey, and brother-in-law, Ned Dewey. He is survived by his sister, Mary Lou Sprague and brother-in-law, Phineas Sprague; his son, Peter, and daughter-in-law Roxanne and their two sons, Jonathan and Michael; his son, Jonathan (“Jack”), and daughter-in-law, Susan, and their children, Christopher, Alex and Libby; his daughter, Gay Sampson, and son-in-law, Nick, and their sons, Nicky, Tucker and Adam; his grandsons, Joshua and Nathan; his great-grandson, Teddy; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He will be sorely missed by his great friends, Victoria King and Mickey Higgins. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a time of visitation to be held Thursday December 6, 2018 from 4 to 7PM at Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St, Portland. A Memorial Service with Military Honors will be held Friday December 7, 2018 at 11:30AM at Trinity Episcopal Church (corner of Coyle & Forest Ave) with Rev. Lawrence Weeks as Celebrant. Immediately following the service all are welcome to join the family for a reception in honor of Widgery at the Portland Country Club, Falmouth. To send a tribute in memory of Widgery please visit www.jonesrichandbarnes.com.
The family would like to extend their special thanks to all the caregivers and professionals who cared for Widgery at Piper Shores and Maine Medical Center.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the following non-profit organizations and would be greatly appreciated:
Pine Tree Council - Boy Scouts of America 146 Plains Road Raymond, Maine 04071 Friends of Casco Bay 43 Slocum Drive South Portland, Maine 04106
Trinity Episcopal Church 580 Forest Avenue Portland, Maine 04101
University of New England 716 Stevens Avenue Portland, Maine 04103
- Widgery Thomas Sr, Father
- Zella Bridge Thomas, Mother
- Jonnie Thomas, Wife
- William Thomas, Son
- Charles Thomas, Son
- Peter Thomas, Son
- Roxanne Thomas, Daughter-in-law
- Jonathan Thomas, Grandson
- Michael Thomas, Grandson
- Jonathan "Jack" Thomas, Son
- Susan Thomas, Daughter-in-law
- Christopher Thomas, Grandson
- Alex Thomas, Grandson
- Libby Thomas, Granddaughter
- Gay Sampson, Daughter
- Nick Sampson, Son-in-law
- Nicky Sampson, Grandson
- Tucker Sampson, Grandson
- Adam Sampson, Grandson
- Joshua Thomas, Grandson
- Nathan Thomas, Grandson
- Teddy ., Great Grandson
- Mary Lou Sprague, Sister
- Phineas Sprague, Brother-in-law
- Zella Dewey, Sister
- Ned Dewey, Brother-in-law
Pine Tree Council - Boy Scouts of America
146 Plains Road, Raymond, Maine 04071
Friends of Casco Bay
43 Slocum Drive, South Portland, Maine 04106
Trinity Episcopal Church
580 Forest Avenue, Portland, Maine 04101
University of New England
716 Stevens Avenue, Portland, Maine 04103
- Time of Visitation Thursday, December 6, 2018
- Memorial Service Friday, December 7, 2018
Widgery Thomas Jr.
have a memory or condolence to add?ADD A MEMORY
December 3, 2018
To the Thomas Family:
I have known the Thomas Family since 1964 working under your grandfather at Canal Bank then your father at Canal, Depositors, Key Bank and then worked under him at Corporate Finance. I have known and watched Jack, Peter and Gay grow to beautiful people. Your father was so proud of all of you and his grandchildren. After moving to Florida in 2009, Tom and I would meet your dad and Victoria at Piper Shores for our Special luncheons the day before Thanksgiving or anytime we were in Maine. We are going to surely miss all our great times together. Our thougths and prayers are with all you at this time. Much love from Diane and Tom Bore.
December 3, 2018
I was privileged to get to know Widge during my employment as a nurse @ Piper Shores. I so enjoyed our conversations & his joy for life! And that great smile brought sunshine to those he shared it with! Blessings & prayers are with his family during this time.
December 3, 2018
. Widge was one in a zillion and like Jonnie, will be long remembered with joy. Charlie always looked forward to his frequent times with Widge. I can only hope they are sharing jokes in the heavens!! And I so enjoyed seeing Widge at Piper Shores where he brightened my days with his wonderful banter and warm
My love and thoughts are with all of the family.
Nina T. McKee
December 2, 2018
THIS IS AN AMENDMENT OF WHAT I JUST SENT: please don't duplicate.
Widgery and I shared a tent at BSA'S Camp Hinds in 1937. I thought he was pretty smart and would go far. Indeed he went to Eagle Scout and kept going, as I've read about occasionally. We both joined the Navy, loved sailing later, and married a Sprague. His was a life well lived, with footprints left on the sands of time.
December 2, 2018
Widgery and I shared a tent at Scouting's Camp Hinds in 1937. He was a year older than I. I thought he was pretty smart and would go far. Indeed he went to Eagle Scout and kept going, as I'd read about occasionally. . A life well lived, with footprints left in the sands of time.
Betsy Parker Landmann
November 29, 2018
Gay, Jack et al...
I am so sorry to learn of your Dad’s passing. I know all too well, the ache in your hearts right now. I just spent some time looking through all the pictures and man, did it bring back so many memories. They brought me right back to all those years ago hanging out with Gay and Chazie, one of my first loves, especially at your wonderful home in South Freeport. Oh the times we had at Waynflete, sailing Casco Bay and skiing at Sugarloaf...goofing around on those old t-bars and tearing up the slopes. I’ll never forget your dad taking you, Gay, and me to the Big Bank Meeting in DC...the drive down and back and all the formal meals and riding the elevators dressed to the nine’s and my first introduction to “finger bowls”! I’m still in awe at his love and commitment to running...having shared the road with him on many 10k’s and a marathon...my only as I watched him go on to complete many more. My dad always spoke well of yours and I know that they crossed many times in Board rooms at Banks and other Businesses and Non-Profits around Portland over the years as well as sailing with and against each other on Casco Bay and beyond. I imagine they are crossing paths again and are being blessed with fair winds and following seas. Love and hugs to you all.