Harry K. Thomas, Esq.

Born: Sat., Mar. 8, 1941
Died: Wed., Mar. 28, 2012


2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Sun., Apr. 01, 2012
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Mon., Apr. 02, 2012
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Mon., Apr. 02, 2012
Location: Scott Funeral Home

Funeral Service

11:00 AM Tue., Apr. 03, 2012
Location: First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant

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     Harry K. Thomas, Esq., 71, of Erie, died Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in Pinellas Park, FL.  He was born March 8, 1941 in Mount Joy, PA, son of the late Harry K. Thomas, Sr. and Ruth Shaeffer Thomas.

     A 1959 graduate of Ft. LeBoeuf High School, Atty. Thomas earned a B.S. in Education from Edinboro University in 1963 and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1970.  He served as Administrative Assistant to Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph P. Willson, Western District of PA and as Law Clerk to Judge Gerald J. Weber, U.S. District Court for the Western District of PA. 

     In 1972 he began his affiliation with Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett Law Firm where he was admitted as partner in 1978, served as a member of the Board of Directors and Chaired its Workers’ Compensation Department for many years, which he built into a leading practice in the region, retiring in December 2011. He was a member of the Pennsylvania and Florida Bar Associations.  He was Past Chairman of the PA Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section and a member of its Executive Committee, served on the Erie County Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Committee and Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee; and was a past member of Workers’ Compensation Judge’s Rules of Procedure Committee of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.  In 2010 he was the recipient of a state-wide award, The Irwin Stander Memorial Award for professionalism from the PA Bar Association.  He was also recognized by his inclusion in the “Best Lawyers in America (Workers’ Compensation Law)” this past year.  He will be awarded the Erie County Bar Association’s most prestigious award, The Chancellor of the Bar Award, at this year’s Law Day Luncheon.

     He was a member and past Chairperson of the Council of Trustees of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a member and past President of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees of the State System of Higher Education. 

     Prior to attending law school he taught World and U.S. History and was an assistant junior varsity football coach at Academy High School.

     Atty. Thomas was a member of First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Erie, Charlotteville Lodge No. 0073 F.& A.M., Lockport, NY and the Erie Club; and a lifetime member of the Erie Maennerchor Club.  He enjoyed spending summers at the family summer house on Edinboro Lake, entertaining, grilling and boating.  He traveled on many wonderful fishing trips with great friends to Port Clinton, OH and Canada.  He was an avid Pittsburgh Steeler fan and had a “man cave” filled with memorabilia of his favorite team.  He was thrilled to attend Super Bowl XLIII where he got to see his precious Steelers win their sixth Super Bowl ring.

     Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Susan C. Bengston Thomas; a daughter, Lynette Willis and husband Peter of Morrisville, NC; a son, Christopher Thomas of White Plains, NY; a sister, Helen Shiffer of St. Petersburg, FL; three grandchildren, Anna, Carter and baby Thomas (due April 18, 2012) Willis; and two Nephews.

     Two brothers, Joseph and William McLaughlin, preceded him in death.

     Friends may call Sunday 2 to 5 and Monday 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Scott Funeral Home, 2104 Myrtle Street.  A service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 250 West 7th Street, Tuesday at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Dr. Dale E. Southorn officiating.  Private burial will be at Laurel Hill Cemetery.

     Memorials may be made to Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, 130 W. Eighth St., Suite 216 Erie, PA 16501; or to the Harry K. Thomas, Esq. Scholarship Fund, c/o Edinboro University, Alumni House, 210 Meadville Street, Edinboro, PA  16444.

Charitable donations may be made in Harry's memory to the following organizations:

Harry K. Thomas, Esq. Scholarship Fund % Edinboro University
210 Meadville St., Edinboro, PA 16444

Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation
130 W. Eighth St., Suite 216, Erie, PA 16501
Tel: 814/480-5776

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Condolence Booklet

Robert & Cyrene Agresti
   Posted Thu March 29, 2012
Susan, Lyn, and Chris,

Harry was a great guy and will be deeply missed. We have many fond memories of being with him, starting over 50 years ago. Our warmest thoughts and prayers are with you.

Bob & Cyrene

Geoffrey L. Seacrist, WCJ
   Posted Fri March 30, 2012
Harry was a respected leader of the Workers Compensation bar for many years, and he was a fine role model and teacher for many Attorneys (and perhaps even a few Judges) to model. He will be greatly missed, despite being an Edinboro booster. Geoff Seacrist

Guido M. Pichini, Chair PASSHE Board of Governors
   Posted Fri March 30, 2012
Harry will be missed by Edinboro University and the PA State System of Higher Education. A true gentleman who was always involved in PACT and System activities.......always an avocate on behalf of our students. Highly respected by his peers....he was a voice of reason at many of our meetings. Please accept my condolences on behalf of the entire PASSHE System.

Chris and Sherry Dwyer
   Posted Fri March 30, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. Harry was an outstanding trustee to Edinboro University. He always brought a lot to the table. He will be greatly missed.
Respectfully, Chris and Sherry Dwyer

Shirley Eck
   Posted Sat March 31, 2012
My prayers and thoughts are with you, Chris and Lynn at this difficult time. Harry was a great guy, wonderful neighbor and friend. I will truely miss him. Shirl

Ronald and Sally Jones
   Posted Sat March 31, 2012
Please accept our deepest sympathies. I first met Harry at Edinboro and have admired how he gave so much to the Erie community, whether is was though his profession, through his charitable giving of money and time to the community, or just being a friend. Harry will truly be missed by so many people.

Claudine & Tony Sugden
   Posted Sat March 31, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with you Susan and your family.
We will always remeber Harry from the first day we arrived in Carriage Hill.
He was always so joyful and caring and full of humour.
We will remember our early sunday morning fishing trips, usually unsuccesful, to the peninsula. Claudine will remember serving Harry french coffee in demi-tasse for the first time. I think he drank 10 cups!
May our memories of Harry be ones of joy and happiness.
God bless you all,
Claudine & Tony

Jackie Benner
   Posted Sun April 01, 2012
Susan, Lyn and Chris,
My thoughts and prayers are with you. Harry was a wonderful person and will be missed by all. May God give you the strength to cope during this difficult time.

Howard and Jean Friedman
   Posted Sun April 01, 2012
Our deepest sympathy to you on your loss. Harry was a very well respected man in his profession and in the community.

Dave and Peggy Pifer
   Posted Sun April 01, 2012
Susan, Lyn, Chris, and family,
As you know, Harry and I have remained friends since High School. We attended Edinboro together and have stayed connected by phone, emails, and visits just as often as possible throughout the years not only in PA and FL but also on those annual fishing trips to Canada. I am extremely grateful that I was able to be with Harry in his last conscious moments on earth to share what a very special friend he was and how important you all have been in our lives. Our love, prayers, and sympathy go out to each of you. God's blessings, Dave & Peg

Jennifer Hoderny (Beer)
   Posted Mon April 02, 2012
I am sorry to hear about the loss of Harry. He was a great man and I enjoyed working with him at Knox. I was the runner/copy clerk for many years and he always made me laugh. I will never forget the time he popped out of the elevator in the gorilla suit! He will definately be missed and you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

william sibbald, sr.
   Posted Mon April 02, 2012
to Harry's family,
I only knew Harry a few short years when I worked for him at Knox. He Will be missed very much by all who knew him!


Barbara Stebell
   Posted Mon April 02, 2012
Susan, Lynn, Chris & family:
It was my privilege to be Harry's secretary for several years. He was always more than a boss to me. I had the utmost respect for him. What a proud grandpa he was when Anna and Carter came to the office. He will be greatly missed. May God give you strength through the difficult days to come.

John A. Hicks
   Posted Mon April 02, 2012
Harry will leave us with a large gap on the PACT Executive Board. His professional knowledge and demeanor were called upon regularly. Sincere sympathy on behalf of the Board and Slippery Rock University, John A. Hicks, PACT President.

Jim Collins
   Posted Wed May 02, 2012
Harry was my college room for 4 years at Edinboro. A wonderful friend, I am deeply saddened to learn of his passing. My sympathies to his family.

Dennis and Marikae Moraski
   Posted Mon May 07, 2012
Susan and family,
We extend our deepest sympathies to all of you in your loss. Harry was a classy guy, a gem among stones, and we know you will miss him. May your many memories give you comfort during this time and in the future.
Dennis and Marikae Moraski

Barry Barnhart
   Posted Thu August 16, 2012
You don't know me and I have not ween Harry since he moved from Mt. Joy so many years ago. Growing up, I lived 5-6 blocks away from Harry's home on Main Street and have many fond memories of him as a grade school classmate and friend. THe obituary of his many accomplishments and charitable works make me proud to have had him as a friend. I am sorry that I never got to see him again as did some of our classmates from Mount Joy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you reflect on your time together.

Barry and Joanne Barnhart (Joanne also a classmate at times)

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