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Former MARS President & industry leader, Bernie Thomas, passes away

The MARS Executive Committee was very saddened to learn of the passing of Bernard J. Thomas on January 15, 2024. Bernie was President of MARS in 2006 and was a long time champion of the MARS Scholarship program. Each year, the largest scholarship award given from MARS to a deserving student is named in Bernie’s honor in recognition for what he meant to the scholarship program and MARS in general.

Please join us in sending our deepest condolences to Bernie’s family.

His obituary read as follows:

Bernie Thomas, born on March 25, 1936, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Bernard and Gladys (Stindt) passed away on January 15, 2024. Bernie served proudly in the US Army and married Eileen Gurry in October 1957. Their union blessed them with three children: Bernard Jr (Patricia), James (Peggy), and Brian (Christine).

Throughout his life, Bernie exemplified hard work, pursuing education alongside a full-time job to achieve his Bachelor’s of Science Degree from the University of Baltimore, specializing in Transportation. Widowed in 2005 after Eileen’s passing, Bernie found renewed love with Brenda Fisher, remarrying in 2009. He devotedly cared for Brenda until her passing in 2018.

Bernie leaves behind a legacy of love as the cherished Grandfather to Corrine, Bernard Jerome Thomas III (Crystal), Colton, Caiden, Anastacia, and Montana Skye. He is also the Great Grandfather to Kailan Curtsinger, Sylus, and Jeric.

Affectionately known as “BoxCar Bernie” he found joy in his career in Logistics. Bernie’s extensive career included roles at Packaging Corporation of America, Stone Containers and International Harvester as well as several other trucking companies. Notable achievements include serving as President of Midwest Association of Rails Shippers in 2006, being part of the Chicago Traffic Club, and holding the position of Village Trustee in Pingree Grove, Illinois. Bernie’s interests extended to Chicago sports and was involved in softball, bowling, golf and woodworking hobbies. Additionally, he proudly served as President and founder of the Streamwood Boys Football Team.

All are welcome to honor Bernie at Fredrick Funeral Home, 284 Park Street, Hampshire, Illinois this Thursday from 4pm to 8pm. Bernie will be put to rest next to his children’s mother in Baltimore, Maryland in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Bernie’s memory lives on through his contributions, dedication, and the love he shared with his family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer’s Foundation in his honor would be appreciated.


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