Robert DeVon Thomas, lifetime Plymouth resident, peacefully passed away on Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Miller’s Merry Manor in Plymouth.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Johnson-Danielson Funeral Home, 1100 N. Michigan Street, Plymouth. Friends are welcome one hour prior.
Born in the old Parkview Hospital in Plymouth on New Year’s Day 1926, DeVon was the son of Charles R. and Mabel M. (Banks) Thomas. He graduated from Plymouth High School in 1944, leaving for Army basic training four days after graduation. A sports enthusiast, he played football and basketball in school and was a member of the band playing trombone. At the time of his passing, he was the oldest member of the First United Methodist Church.
DeVon was a Pilot paper boy at age 10 and then an apprentice pressman at 17 and for one year after his military service. He was employed at Bendix before becoming a Railway Mail Postal Service clerk in 1951 and transferring to the South Bend Post Office until his retirement in 1981. In his spare time, he assisted in his father’s business of painting houses and wallpapering. He drove as a lab courier for the hospital until 2007. He attended Ancilla College in 1990 to take courses in Introduction to Data Processing and Computer Programming. He wrote his autobiography and his wife’s biography. He also learned to fly a plane in 1958. Fishing was a great source of relaxation and joy for him.
DeVon proudly served for our country in the U.S. Army during World War II from June 1944 until his honorable discharge in 1947 with the rank of a Tech-5. He was a member of the Indiana National Guard from 1948 – 1952, discharged with the rank of E-7 Infantry. During WW II he was wounded in Germany, received the Purple Heart and was reassigned to the War Crimes Investigation Unit in Gmunden, Austria. There he met Herta Mayr at a Red Cross Dance and fell in love. After two years of courting her, her parents still would not consent to a marriage, so he re-enlisted for another year to convince them to say yes, promising to care for her until the end of her days. He returned to the States, worked 2 jobs to save for her ticket to Indiana and Herta arrived on December 1, 1947 and they were united in marriage at the First United Methodist Church on December 7, 1947. Their love was steadfast for nearly 73 years, a compliment to each other. DeVon built their home which was his pride and joy and lived there until October 2020. Their union was blessed by two children, Gloria Jean and Diana Kay.
He was known by several names, Robert, Bob, DeVon, and Tommy-and of course Dad and Grandpa. DeVon became his name when there were too many “Roberts” in first grade, thus the teacher used middle names to keep them straight. Tommy was his military nickname.
He is survived by his loving wife, Herta and daughters Gloria (Scott) Buzzard of Plymouth and Diana (Dale) Ehlers of North Prairie Wisconsin; grandchildren Monica (Brad) Parkhurst, Michael Chad (Rachael) Eyrich, Jacob (Melanie) Ehlers, Megan (Jim) Backhaus, Amanda (Felipe) Ehlers-Diaz, three step-grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. Also missing him will be niece Janet McKelvie and nephew James Shaffer.
DeVon was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Agnes Shaffer, Delhia Anglin, and Olive Whisman and nephews Richard Underwood and John Anglin.
Burial of his cremains will follow in the New Oak Hill Cemetery, Plymouth.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church 400 N Michigan St, Plymouth, IN 46563, or Center for Hospice Care 112 S. Center St. Plymouth, IN 46563.
The family would like to extend deep gratitude to the staff members at Center for Hospice Care and Miller’s Merry Manor for the care and support DeVon received.
Joan Hunt says
Gloria, Dian and families,
Your parents were so devoted and kind. I loved short visits with Bob at the hospital when he was a lab courier. Through Gloria and Scott I kept in touch with how her parents were doing these past few, more challenging years. My sincere condolences and comfort for your mom as she moves forward without her dear husband.💞
Carol Rice says
Gloria, Di and families, My deepest sympathy to you all, and hugs to your Mother also during these difficult times❤️ Carol Sue Rice
Ren and Beverly Van Gilder says
“A love that lasted a lifetime”, what a wonderful story, of true commitment. We send you all our love and our sympathy.
Ren and Beverly Van Gilder
Julie Gilley says
I worked with This sweet man for many, many years and he was like family! It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Herta and Bob, but they will forever be in my heart with the greatest of memories!! Rest In Peace Mr. Bob! ♥️
Marcia Harris says
Bob will be missed he was very well loved by many. During his time as courier I got to know him and what a soft hearted person he was. I worked there and very much appreciated him and his humor. I also live close by Bob and Herta and would hear about parts of their lives which I always enjoyed listening to. Peace to you Bob and I know you will be watching over your beloved Herta. My thoughts and prayers go out to Herta and Gloria and the rest of the family ❤️🥲
Sharon Selner says
Gloria, Diane, and Herta; my sincere condolence on the passing of your father and husband Robert. I will always remember the stories that he could tell and the great memories he cherished. He was truly one of a kind and I know you will miss him greatly, It was an honor to have known him.
Barb Lowry says
Herta, Gloria and family,
So sorry to read of your loss of your dear husband, father and grandfather. He certainly achieved of lot of accomplishments during his lifetime. Loved to read about how your meeting and marriage took place, Herta. What a love story! May God comfort you during this time of sadness.
Barb & Bub Lowry
Suzanne Gibson says
WE THE MEMBERS OF THE VFW AUXILIARY 1162 PLYMOUTH INDIANA
ARE SADDEN TO HEAR OF ROBERTS PASSING OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS AT THIS TIME OF GREAT SORROW
VFW AUXILIARY 1162
Jim & Sally Scobey says
Sorry to hear that Devon has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with Herta and family at this time of loss.. He will be missed by many.
Mark Senter, Plymouth says
Another HERO of THE GREATEST GENERATION has been taken from us! Excluding this crazy year, for last ten or more years Bob made it to the Burger King Breakfast Club every Monday, Wednesday & Friday. He was such a quiet warrior but often brought in some of his memoirs & memorobilia from his life. He will be missed by many and blessings please for his wonderful family that he often spoke so highly of.
GodSpeed, my friend!
The Whitaker Family says
So sorry for your loss. We’ve been neighbors for many, many years through our families homes.
Mary Stuckmeyer says
Herta , Gloria and family,
I am so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know him well but he was an amazing person. I miss my brief Monday visits with Robert and Herta. Know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this time of sorrow.
Brigitte Gomboc says
Herta, Gloria und Familie!
Mein aufrichtiges Beileid für diesen Verlust eines lieben Menschen. Robert wird immer in unseren Herzen und Erinnerungen Bleiben.
Ruhe in Frieden!
Barb(Beatty) Scheumann says
I am so sorry to read of Devon’s death. I lived across the street with my parents when he built Herta’s & his home on Franklin Street. Herta & Mom were good friends for many years. I remember them giving each other “Toni” home permanents. Gloria & Diane were playmates, along with John & Jane Zumbaugh. We shared lots of good times.
Our condolences to Herta & their family. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Gods blessings. Roger & Barb (Beatty) Scheumann
Kay Mersker says
My heartfelt sympathy to you. I remember the whole family so well thru the years when we would visit grandpa and grandma Hartman.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Suzanne Gibson says
WE THE MEMBERS OF THE VFW AUXILIARY 1162 IN PLYMOUTH INDIANA
ARE SADDENED TO HEAR OF ROBERT’S PASSING
OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS
VFW AUXILIARY 1162 CHAPLAIN
Harold J. Schmidt says
Bob attended all of the C-league games for his grandson, Chad. I always enjoyed his comments and friendliness. He was an asset to the community. Unable to attend viewing due to other commitments.
Michele Faulstich says
Herta & family,
I am so saddened to hear of DeVon’s passing. Herta, we loved you & Devon as our adopted grandparents & our favorite place to sit at church was right next to the two of you! We will miss Devon’s entertaining stories of the past & James always enjoyed talking & teaching him things about technology. We miss you & are keeping you & your whole family in our thoughts & prayers.
Sending you so much love!
Janet Smith says
Dear Herta, Gloria, Diane,
Devon was a special guy. Always friendly and doing for others. I enjoyed our visits at church. Always had a story.
I am sorry I won’t be at the service. Love and prayers to all.
Friends like family, Janet Metsker Smith
Larry Fish says
I just learned of Devon’s passing. I will always remember you two and the great friendship you had with my parents. My sympathy to you and your family. May God continue to comfort you as you cherish those good memories of Devon.