Cornelius "Neil" Thomas
CORNELIUS &Quot;NEIL&Quot; WILLIAM THOMAS Cedar Rapids Cornelius "Neil" William Thomas, 85, of Cedar Rapids, passed away Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, at home after an extended illness. Visitation will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Cedar Memorial Funeral Home. As mandated by proclamation, social distancing must be practiced, which requires a limited number of people to be allowed into the visitation at one time. The use of face masks or shields is encouraged. A private service will be held at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Janet; daughters, Christine Uhlenhake (Clay), Chanhassen, Minn., Michel Johnson, Las Vegas, Nev., and Tami Behel, Cedar Rapids; grandchildren, Neil and Logan Uhlenhake, Tom Grady and Zachary Johnson, and Samantha and Josh Behel; six great-grandchildren; and many other family members and friends. Neil was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law, Kenneth Benest; mother-in-law, Lenore Benest; half brothers, Lloyd Thomas and Bob Thomas; and half sisters, Sue Swift and Maude Brubaker. Neil was born Nov. 3, 1934, at Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to William and Thelma Thomas. Neil served in the U.S. National Guard from 1952 to 1962. He was a loyal employee of Collins Radio/Rockwell International for 42 years and held many different positions with the company. After retiring in 1993, Neil went to work for Modern Machine Engineering out of Minneapolis, Minn. During his retirement, he also worked at Irwin's Clothing in Marion for two years. Neil was an active volunteer for many organizations. He was most proud of his involvement with Variety Children's Charity for about 30 years. He was also a large part of the Cedar Rapids Evening Lion's Club. He was a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ for over 50 years. He was on many of the church boards and was an intregal part of bringing the East Side Boys and Girls Club to their home at the First Congregational Church. Aside from all of Neil's volunteering, he took great pride in playing Santa Claus to many children for many years. During his retirement, Neil made custom fitted golf clubs and shipped them all over the United States. He was an active part of the Cedar Rapids Golf Association and played in various golf leagues. He very much enjoyed being a Ranger at Twin Pines Golf Course. Neil and his wife Janet enjoyed traveling all over the world. They went places like the Wine Country in California and very much enjoyed tasting all kinds of wine. Their travels also took them to Hawaii, Europe and Neil's heritage of Wales. They also made their rounds to plenty of areas in the U.S. as well. One of Neil's most memorable travels was when he was able to go on the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight in October 2016. Neil's greatest joys in life were being a great husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother-in-law, uncle and mentor to many. Not too many could match Neil's bartending/drink-making abilities or his delightful choice of cigars. Neil will be missed by all. The family would like to thank the staff at Keystone Cedars, Mercy Hospice and all of the staff at Hall-Perrine Cancer Center. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to Hall Perrine Cancer Center, First Congregational United Church of Christ or Variety Children's Charity. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.cedarmemorial.com.