|courtesy of Frogman|
SSG Joseph Gilbert Thomas was born 31 May 1911 in Circleville, Ohio. He was the only child of Harry J. and Rosa Mae (Lowery) Thomas. His father was a house painter but died at the age of 42 in 1917. Joseph was just 6-years old. His mother remarried to widower William Wilkinson, a tinner. Cousin Jim was added to the family when Rosa became his foster mother shortly after his birth. Joseph completed 3 years of high school before marrying Ruth Neff in September 1934. The couple lived in Columbus, Ohio and Joseph went to work for Container Corporation and then Ohio Wax Paper Company.
Joseph voluntarily enlisted in March 1942. He may have been in the National Guard prior to this. In any case he was already a SGT when he departed for England in February 1944. Assigned from the replacement depot to C Company 116th Infantry on 13 Jun 1944 as a CPL, he was reassigned to A Company 116th Infantry on 15 Jun 1944. He fought with A Company as it approached Saint-Lo, France and was promoted to SSG on 9 Jul 1944. SSG Thomas was killed in action 2-days later, on 11 Jul 1944.
Ruth and Joseph had no children and she did not re-marry until 1954.