Ronald Emerson Thomas


Franklin - Ronald Emerson Thomas, 73, beloved husband, father, brother, and community member passed unexpectedly on July 1, 2019. He was born July 5, 1945 in Guilford, Maine to Charles Thomas and Gladys (Emerson) Thomas.
Ron spent his childhood on the family farm in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, where he honed his skills in all manners of farm life. He and his siblings dutifully performed their chores while also managing to partake in many childhood antics. His mother, Gladys, most certainly had her hands full keeping an eye on six rambunctious boys. In his teenage years, Ron had a paper route, cut wood with his father and brothers, worked for a furniture store and attended Foxcroft Academy where he graduated in 1964. After graduation, like so many young men from Maine, Ron set his sights on Connecticut where there were many job opportunities. He and his first wife, Ellen, packed a Volkswagen Beetle and headed south where Ron would land an apprenticeship that eventually shaped the rest of his life. Ron often shared the story of his walking into a machine shop for the first time, where he first saw a working metal lathe that captured his fascination immediately. His aptitude for math, combined with his desire to learn and strong work ethic, resulted in his moving up quickly in the machine tool trade. Being a true "Mainer", Ron couldn't resist the call to return to his home state, ready to take on the machine tool world by storm. After working for various companies, and absorbing machine tool knowledge like a sponge, Ron went out on his own and opened his own machine shop, R.E. Thomas Machine Co. in 1973 in Bangor. He successfully built a business through long hours doing custom design and contract work for large corporations. In 1985, Ron relocated the business to Hancock, Maine, where he continued custom and corporate work until 2001, when an unexpected opportunity literally walked in the door when a potential customer arrived with underwater marine hardware that he wanted manufactured. Soon after Ron began manufacturing this product, the customer decided he was unable to take it further and offered the sale of his line to Ron. At this point, Ron and Karen raised the money to buy the product line as Ron immediately saw the potential to make vast improvements. It was a perfect marriage; boats, underwater marine hardware, and fishermen. These are all the things Ron truly related to and he dedicated his efforts into designing safe and modernized products as part of R. E. Thomas Marine Hardware. His expertise and preciseness, was matched only by his ability to make all customers feel as though they were his only customer. Ron's shop had an open-door atmosphere where all were welcome, not only to do business, but to also chat and have a cup of coffee.
Ron had a big, warm smile, super friendly demeanor and absolutely loved to help people. If he didn't know you, he damn well got to know you, one way or another. Ron was very proud of overcoming alcoholism with the support of AA, and its many members, who came to be like family to him. Ron's most treasured pastime was fishing. He was always searching for "Timmy Toque", as Karen called them, while they trolled along on so many of Maine's gorgeous lakes, their dog Grady by their side. Ron served on boards for both Open Door Recovery and the Franklin Historical Society.
Ron is survived by his wife and sole mate in this life, Karen Macomber. Also surviving him are his two cherished daughters, Heidi Thomas and Ami Simbari; as well as son-in-law Ron Simbari; and step-daughters, Leslee Differ and husband Danny, and Joslyn Brenton and husband Peter. Ron's grandchildren include Gabriella and Isabel Simbari, Connor Dorr, Jack and Miles Differ, Quinn Kelly, and Clara Brenton. He is also survived by his siblings; Stuart Thomas, David Thomas and his wife Joanne, James Thomas and his husband Bob, Cathie Goodine and her husband Greg, Cindi Lee, and Vickie Parsons, along with brother-in-law, Mark Macomber. Ron was predeceased by his parents, as well as two brothers, Paul and Gerald Thomas and his brother-in-law Danny Parsons. He is survived by many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Ron's life will be held on Sunday, August 4, 2019 at the Franklin Veteran's Club, 4 Cards Crossing in Franklin, ME from 2:00-4:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ron's memory to the Franklin Historical Society's School House Restoration Project at PO Box 317 Franklin ME 04634. Ron's passion for old buildings, along with his many vocational skills, enabled this project to get off the ground. His vision will continue to support the ongoing restoration.
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Published on July 16, 2019
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15 posts

Bob card
Aug 13, 2019
Really sorry to hear this. My dad Thurston Card owned the Tideway store next to Ron's shop from 1984 to 1990, and I had a lobster shack behind the store. Ron was a great friend to anyone exhibiting a good work ethic. He hired local diggers and was eager to help me. His warm smile and deep blue eyes were as endless as a cedar spring. He greeted his friends, with " hello pawd", short for partner. Ron was a gift to humanity, and his passing is a loss to us all.
Ken Wentworth
Jul 30, 2019
Ken Wentworth Ron was a great guy . His brother Jerry was a good friend of mine back in the early 1950s and I met Ron years late 1960s or early 70s . At that time he was talking about opening Thomas Machine and was buying machines to open with . I remember he had a chance to rent a space on the old missile base at the time. I remember him as a nice guy and a hard worker loaded with confidence and wanting to get the show on the road . I am very sorry to hear that his time hear is gone . Prayers for Ron and all of his close friends and family. R.I.P.
Ron Rines
Jul 21, 2019
I knew Ron in the 70's when he had his machine shop on the Bomarc Missile Base. He and Waldo Rines (my Dad) were good friends. They got along so well because they both had a great sense of humor. He was a wonderful man, and although we lost touch during the years that followed, I was still saddened to learn of his passing. My thoughts are with his wife and family at this sad time. Sincerely, Ron Rines
Kama (Lee) Carter
Jul 20, 2019
Rest In Peace Uncle Ronnie

You are all in my prayers ♥️
Jim and Carolyn Fitz-patrick
Jul 19, 2019
Our most sincere sympathy and condolences for you Karen, and for the family. We will always remember the special times we were able to get together as members of FA Class 1964. Ron was very fine and genuine person and we miss him so much.
Jul 19, 2019
I am so sorry for your loss. Sending my love, prayers, and peace to all of you.
Lu Dodson
Jul 18, 2019
Sending love and strength to Karen and the family during these difficult times.
May that beautiful smile and great sense of humor Ron had warm your hearts and bring you joy. ❤️ Lu
Louis Campbell
Jul 17, 2019
Please accept our condolences and thoughts for your loss Karen.
Ted, Trina, and Shaylene Hennigan
Jul 17, 2019
We are very sad to have heard of the loss of Ron. He was one special man to our family and we loved him dearly 💕 Ron and Karen you were on our list to come visit when we returned home on July 2, only we were to be a day late. We are sending huge hugs to the family and are very honored to have know such a loving and caring man like Ron.
Beverly Alteri
Jul 16, 2019
So sorry for your loss. Your family are in our thoughts and prayers
Lisa May Thomas
Jul 16, 2019
Uncle Ronnie was a wonderful man! He loved his family! Ronnie will be missed by so many, in their own way!

When my parents got divorced, he was the only one on my father's side of the family that didnt forget us five kids!! That meant so much to me and I have that special memory of him! He made me smile, and I knew he cared and loved his first neice! Miss you Uncle Ronnie!!

To Ellen, Ami and Heidi, my deepest condolences with my love!

To Karen, I am sorry for your loss and send my love!
Faye Donovan
Jul 16, 2019
I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of my classmate Ronnie Thomas
Steve Taylor
Jul 16, 2019
Sad to hear of Ron's passing. Ron was a good friend of mine growing up in Dover-Foxcroft. I remember a few short sailing trips with the family we took out of Camden years ago.
He was a very talented guy. He had done some great prototype machining work for me at my early years with Fisher Snowplow.
My condolences to the family.
Gayle Peirce
Jul 16, 2019
So sorry for your loss Heidi. Loving prayers for Connor and you.
Richard Alley
Jul 16, 2019
Met Ron when I was working at a Bangor bank years ago. Always had a good relationship, but it took awhile to learn of Ron’s technical and business acumen. I still repeat one of the great sayings of his, regarding a smiling mule.
A loss to family, friends, community and beyond. But I’m sure the memories will last forever. A great guy...
Sincere regrets,
Rich Alley