Russel E. Thomas, 87, of Geneseo, passed away on Monday, March 16, 2020, at Hillcrest Home, Geneseo, IL. A private memorial graveside funeral service will be held at 11:00 on Friday, July 17, 2020, at The Rock Island National Cemetery. A public memorial visitation will be held from 9:00 – 10:00 on Friday, July 17, 2020, at Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory – Geneseo Chapel. IDP regulations allow for 50 people (including staff) at a time within the funeral home. The funeral home will monitor capacity limits to maintain compliance with COVID regulations. Memorials may be directed to the Quad Cities Honor Flight or the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight.


Russel was born on April 6, 1932, the son of Ben and Florence (Forlinger) Thomas, in Charlotte, IA. He graduated from Welton High School, Welton IA. Russel married Dolores Minnaert on July 21, 1962. She preceded him in death in 2007. He proudly served in the United States Army during the Korean War, 1950 - 1954. He was employed at John Deere in the parts department, for twenty-five years, until retirement. He also worked for Willard Nelson at Nelson Farms, was a school crossing guard, and a handyman around Geneseo. He was a member of St. Malachy Catholic Church. He was honored and privileged for the opportunity to go on the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities. He especially loved following his kids and grandkids activities throughout their lives and looked forward to all their events.


Those left to cherish his memory include his daughter, Tracy (Pete) Yager, Geneseo, IL; sons, Bob (Jodi) Thomas, Geneseo, IL, and Jim (Gary Gill) Thomas, Columbia, IL; and nine grandchildren.


He was preceded in death by his parents, Ben and Florence, his wife, Dolores, three brothers, and one sister.