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
Abdo and Virginia Salamehsays
All family members of Salim Salameh in Lebanon are deeply sorry to hear about the passing of our beloved cousin Laddy. Please accept our heartfelt condolences. We share your grief at this difficult time with deep sympathy. Laddy will always remain in our thoughts and prayers.
Laddy and Martha were of my two first clients when joining the firm. I have had close contact with them for over 11 years and were always two of my favorites. I made many a house call they all special as he shared stores about his past and his family which he was very proud of. Laddy you will be missed dearly, but I you are with Martha and happy to be back by her side I know. Until we meet again, rest easy. Tommy
Uncle Laddy has a special place on our hearts and our thoughts go out to Ann, Michael, Jill and their families. We remember all the fun we had over the years, first in Shady Side and then in State College. Warm welcomes were always accompanied by big smiles, plentiful food and laughter. May you find peace with your beloved Martha.
I wish I could put it into words what L.B. means to me. Every time that we spoke, he was always quick to check in on me, my wife, and our family before I could ever ask him how he was doing. He was funny, sharp as a tack, and most of all, one of the most genuine people that I have encountered. He truly was a bright spot in my day and I will miss our conversations dearly. The world lost a great one but heaven got an angel! Cheers, to a life well lived, L.B. You will certainly be missed!
Laddy, Martha and one of their favorite cats Winston has joined his dear friends the Kauffmans and their family in Heaven, you will always be in our hearts and greatly missed Love William and Estell