World War II veteran, Elvin Edward Thomas, 93, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., was called home Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, after a short illness.
Born Oct. 29, 1919, in Sun, W.Va., he was the son of the late Clarence Megginson and Amelia Thomas.
Mount Hope, W.Va., where he excelled in academics, as well as an outstanding athlete.
After high school, in the early years of his career he worked as a bellhop at a hotel in Beckley, W.Va. He later relocated to Charleston, W.Va., were he worked as a hospital orderly at the Charleston General Hospital.
He was drafted into the Air Force on Feb. 25, 1942, and discharged on Oct. 23, 1945, where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. During his military service, he was selected as a member of the original cadre for the all black 332nd Fighter Plane Group; he reported to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to become part of the experimental formation of an all-black fighter unit, known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He worked in supply, handling administrative duties necessary for the fighter group to operate. Elvin had the distinction of being one of the first seven men to arrive at Tuskegee. He was also one of the last to leave Ramitelli Airfield near Termoli, Italy, the 332nd’s last overseas assignment. He served under then Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. This group distinguished itself escorting U.S. bombers on dangerous missions into Europe. His squadron received the President Unit Citation, European African Middle Eastern Service Ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal.
Almost immediately upon his return to the states, Elvin was hired to work at the Library of Congress, Card Division, as a card drawer in Washington, D.C. He held positions of increasing responsibility and was promoted to assistant head of the Inventory Section. After 30 years of federal service he retired and moved his family to Bunker Hill.
He was a faithful and active member of Mount Tabor Baptist Church where he served on the Trustee Board.
He was a member of the American Legion Post 102, Prince Hall Masonic Star Lodge No. 1, and honorary member of the Zenith club. He was Musselman High School football team’s No. 1 Fan, he was an avid fan and supporter.
Mr. Thomas was preceded in death by his parents; and two brothers, Carster Bibbs Jr. and Melvin Bibbs.
As he journeys home to celebrate his victory, he leaves behind his beloved wife of 60 years, Thelma E. Thomas; two sons, Kevin E. (Diane) Thomas and Eric (Karen) Thomas both of Bunker Hill; a brother, Rufus (Carolyn) Ferguson of Dover, N.C.; a sister, Diane Ferguson of Waldorf, Md.; five grandchildren, Jose Johnston, Darin (fiancé, Leah Ginser) Thomas, Kandice (Jeff) Wiltshire, Erika Thomas, and Ashley Thomas; two step grandchildren, Robert King III and Dionna King; six great-grandchildren, Jedah and Naje Johnston, Ambrielle Thomas, Kaiden Wiltshire, Jevion Johnston, and Azariah Thomas; and one step-great-grandson, Chaim Wiltshire; a sister-in-law, Jeanette Bibbs of Cleveland, Ohio; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Rosedale Funeral Home. The funeral service will begin at 2 p.m. Interment will follow at Rosedale Cemetery with full military rites.
Arrangements entrusted to Rosedale Funeral Home, Martinsburg. Online condolences may be sent to www.rosedalefuneral.com.