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Obituary: Gordon Thoman, Purple Heart Recipient, Long-Time Advertising Manager

Thoman, 88, of Lake Bluff, enlisted in the Army as soon as he turned 18 to fight in WWII. He then returned to the area and worked in advertising for 50 years.

The following obituary is from Kelley Spalding Funeral Home:

Gordon Anthony Thoman, of Lake Bluff, IL, died February 6, 2013. Born on November 4, 1924 in St. Louis, Missouri and raised on the North Side of Chicago.

He was the devoted husband of Mary Barbara, nee McNeff. Gordon was preceded in death by his siblings Bernard and Rosemary. Loving father of Sarah Mary (Steven) Mann, E. Norwalk, CT, Paula Anne (Thomas) Herman, Kirkwood, MO, Julia Marie (John) Lynch, Cary, IL and his son, one of his favorite golfing partners, David Anthony (Lisa) Thoman, Hudson, FL; beloved grandfather of Peter Bernard, Nicholas Anthony, Philip Joseph and Claire Elizabeth Herman and Matthew Gordon, Frances Kathryn and Amy Claire Lynch; and cherished uncle. He will also be missed by Annie, the cherished cat.

Mr. Thoman and his wife Barbara lived in Lake Forest, IL for 32 years. He enlisted in the Army in December 1942 (as soon as he turned 18) and served for 3 years during WWII in the A Company 802 Tank Destroyer Battalion in 5 campaigns. Wounded in Brittany on August 4, 1944, he insisted on returning to his unit after recovering. He was awarded the Purple Heart. In 1997 Mr. Thoman was honored with a medal for the Normandy Campaign at the French Embassy in Chicago.

He worked in the advertising industry for 50 years. He sold advertising space for the Chicago Herald American, The Hospital Journal of the American Hospital Association, Mill & Factory Magazine, and for 25 years as the Midwest Advertising Manager for Traffic World.

Mr. Thoman retired in 1989 but it didn’t take. He returned to selling advertising for Transport Topics and then Progressive Railroading Magazine, retiring for good at age 72.

Mr. Thoman was a member of the Traffic Club of Chicago, the Old Chicago Press Club, and the Association of Railroad Advertising & Marketing Managers. He served as an usher for Father O’Gara for 10 years at St. Patrick’s Church in Lake Forest, IL.

He was an avid golfer. He got a hole in one while playing with his son David, on August 30, 2002 at Prairies Isle Golf Course. He always said the fun and success he enjoyed was because of the great and invaluable help of his wife Barbara.

Service and interment private. In lieu of flowers, Masses or donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 would be appreciated. 

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