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David  Thomas
Coach, Mentor, Lorain Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
Age 71
Born: September 24, 1948   Died: March 25, 2020

Gluvna Shimo Hromada

David Thomas, age 71, of Avon, and formerly of Lorain, passed away peacefully at the Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital on the morning of Wednesday March 25, 2020. He was born in Lorain on September 24, 1948 and had been a resident of Avon for the past eight years.



Dave graduated from Lorain High School where he was a standout athlete and multi-year varsity letterman on the football, baseball, and track teams there. During his senior year, he was selected to the All-Buckeye Conference football team as a split-end. Following his graduation, he attended Lorain County Community College.



Dave began his working career at U.S. Steel Corporation’s Lorain-Cuyahoga Works. He later embarked on a journey that spanned more than a half century with the Lorain Glass Company and its sister entity Lakeland Glass. He began there as a driver and quickly transitioned to roles as a glass cutter, glazier, and ultimately as a sales manager.



Shortly after high school graduation he became deeply involved with coaching CYO football at St. Mary Church winning successive championships in 1967 and 1968 as well as two CYO basketball titles as coach of the team from St. Nicholas Byzantine Church; that team amassed a two-year record of thirty-four wins against only seven losses.



From 1968 to 1981 Dave served as a league director for the Ohio Touch and Flag Football League. As a player-coach his Adams Café team won sixty-five consecutive games and eleven championships which are both state records that still stand. In 1981 Dave was chosen to develop a city soccer program by the Lorain Parks and Recreation Dept which lead to the development of the Lorain Soccer Association and the birth of the annual Lorain International Tournament. Those efforts resulted in Dave being presented with Lorain’s first and only Presidential Sports Award from President Jimmy Carter.



He was also instrumental in formulating the soccer program at Lorain Catholic High School; his teams won four sectional titles along with one appearance in the regional finals.; Dave also watched nineteen of his player earn all Greater Cleveland honors with several moving on to compete at the collegiate level.



The remainder of his accomplishments and accolades are almost too numerous to chronicle. Those efforts were acknowledged, however, during his 1994 induction into the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame. Dave’s true legacy will remain in the mark that he left on the lives he touched in mentoring his student athletes to not only excel as champions on the athletic field, but also as champions and ambassadors who excel in life.



He was a long-time parishioner of St. Mary Catholic Church in Lorain;  Dave was also an avid golfer. He enjoyed spending any available free time with his loving wife and family and loved being a spectator at his grandchildren's sporting events. He also looked forward to yearly trips to Hilton Head, South Carolina.



He is survived by his wife of forty-seven years Karen (nee Walchko), son Derek (Melissa) of Avon, daughter Jennifer (Brian) Britt also of Avon, grandchildren Sydney, Aubrey, Connor, and Owen and stepmother Helen Perritt of Lorain. He also leaves his sister-in-law Patsy Maderitz of Avon and nephews T.J. and Michael Maderitz.



He was preceded in death by his parents David and June (nee Jaynes) Thomas, father-in law and mother-in-law Michael & Mary (nee Mahilo) Walchko, and sister-in-law Jan Walchko-Dominguez.



 



 



 



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