Latif B. Thomas Jr.
Monday 2nd of February 1931 - Monday 19th of July 2021
Cathedral of Christ the King
299 Colony Blvd., Lexington, KY
L.B. “Laddy” Thomas Jr., 90, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 19, 2021, at Brookdale Senior Living in Lexington, KY from complications of pneumonia. He was born February 2, 1931, in Windsor Heights, West Virginia, the fifth of five children of the late Latif B. Thomas, Sr. and the late Rose Joseph Thomas who immigrated from Lebanon in 1920, literally only days after their wedding. Laddy grew up just outside of Wheeling, WV, and, upon his graduation from West Virginia University, he entered the United States Air Force where he served as captain during the Korean War. He was honored to have served his country, and he was one proud American.
But he was equally as proud of his Lebanese heritage and particularly of his parents who had the courage to leave their families and their country to start their own family and future in America. It was from his father and mother – ages 23 and 17 respectively when they immigrated - that he learned about sacrifice and service, and service was what he was truly all about: to his country, to his church, and to his family. Laddy was a dedicated husband to his wife, Martha, and dedicated father to their three children: Ann, Michael, and Jill. He treasured and embraced every moment with them.
Laddy and Martha raised their family in State College, Pennsylvania where he owned and operated Elby’s Restaurants and the Best Western State College Inn - which was a mainstay in State College area for many years. He was a dedicated Penn State supporter and loved nothing more than game days in Happy Valley. On game days, he was an early adopter of earbuds which, he told Martha, he was using to listen to the game on the radio – only for her to discover after years and years’ worth of games in Beaver Stadium that the battery-powered portable radio to which those earbuds were attached did not have – nor had ever had - any batteries at all.
His tailgates were legendary and
served as a reunion gathering spot for many former Nittany Lion players and
coaches. Laddy was like a second dad to so many: neighborhood kids, Penn State
students, and athletes who would show up regularly for meals or a place to stay
if they were unable to travel home over breaks. He had a big heart, never met a
stranger, and enjoyed life to the fullest. He especially loved his role as
“PapPap” to his six grandchildren, but he also loved a good grape leaf, a good
prank, and a good piece of fried flounder.
Laddy was preceded in death by his beloved wife of nearly sixty years, Martha, in 2020. Surviving are his children Ann Henegar and husband, Ed, of Charlotte, NC; Michael and wife, Britt, of Raleigh, NC; and Jill Tierney and husband, Peyton, of Lexington, KY; grandchildren, Guille, Luke, and Millan Henegar; Cooper and Elizabeth Thomas; Chardy Tierney; and forty-four nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his brother, Tom Thomas and sister-in-law Ann Thomas. Laddy was preceded in death by sisters Nellie Magyar and Agnes Robards and a brother Bill Thomas.
The family wishes to thank staff of the Highgrove Community, the staff at Saint Joseph East Hospital, including Dr. Avi Eres, Dr. Ali Hussain, and Dr. Kevin Donohue.
A funeral mass will be held Saturday, July 24 at 11:00 am at Cathedral of Christ The King, 299 Colony Blvd, Lexington, KY 40502.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Our Lady Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church, 2216 Eoff Street, Wheeling, WV 26003.
Arrangements are in the care of Milward Funeral Directors, 159 N Broadway, Lexington, Kentucky 40507; (859) 252-3411. Online condolences can be shared at
LB Thomas has always remembered Our Lady of Lebanon Church & his dedication will long be remembered. Until recently, I have volunteered as the church secretary since the previous secretary (Cecilia Thomas) died suddenly (I think in 1995) while Fr. Ghattas Al Khoury was pastor. Monsignor Bakhos Chidiac, pastor since 2001, has also spoken very highly of LB. Although I didn’t grow up in the generation of parishioners that included LB I met him at our church’s annual Mahrajan - Lebanese Festival held in honor of the Blessed Mother in mid August at Oglebay Park here in Wheeling. I regret that I couldn’t attend the funeral mass. I also thank you for asking that donations in memory of LB be sent to our church. If I can do anything for you please do not hesitate to contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org -Charlotte Khourey
Remember “Laddy” well from his early years as Assistant Personnel Manager at the former Olin Aluminum rolling mill in Hannibal Oh. Sorry to learn of his passage, but it is good to read of a successful life lived into an old age.
While I didn’t have the privilege of ever meeting your sweet Dad…I sure felt I knew him. Jill, my heart is broken for you and your sister and brother. It’s hard not having any living parents but your faith is strong and you and your siblings will lean on one another more than ever. May God’s strength pull you all through this most difficult time and May you take time to share precious memories and support one another in the days to follow. I love you sweet friend. You are in my constant thoughts and Prayers! ❤️
In my short time at Highgrove after LB moved in, he was nothing but kind and giving. He always had his door open to anyone who wanted candy or conversation. Jill dropped off food for Thanksgiving and LB insisted we sit down and have a meal. We had laughs and great food (Thank you Jill) and a wonderful time. Brittany (another CNA at Highgrove) and I will always enjoy that memory.
Michael - What a beautiful tribute to your father. Just knowing you and the childhood stories you have shared has given me an understanding of the man. I so wish I had the pleasure of meeting him. Please accept John and I's condolences for your families loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Hugs to you my friend!
There was never a dull moment being in Mr. Thomas company. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.