Tribute to Tom Thomas, Owner of Ram’s Horn, Rochester Hills

To friends, family, and anyone that met him, Tom George Thomas was more than an average guy. Born in Detroit, Michigan on June 12, 1928 to two Greek Nationals, Thomas learned to “seize the day” from an early age. When he was only nine years old, Thomas was spotted jumping off the Belle Isle Bridge into the Detroit River to join his older brother Manuel who was swimming across the channel. He was mentioned by name in Neil Shine’s famous book about a family growing up in Detroit during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Thomas entered into the winter sports with great fury as well. He was a champion speed skater in his day. The story was told that one time he traveled to Alpena, Michigan as a young man for a statewide skating competition. When he walked into the arena and saw the first place trophy, he boldly told the large man behind the desk, “I’m going to win that trophy tomorrow.” The man suggested that he should put that in writing if he was so confident. So Thomas did. He borrowed a crayon and wrote on the back of the flyer that he would take the first place trophy the next day. Thomas made good on his promise and won first place, carting the large trophy all the way back to Detroit. As time went on, Thomas began working in various capacities. He started as a shoe shiner in Detroit and later became a bellhop at the Book-Cadillac Hotel. He eventually started his first business, Tommy Thomas Drapery on Chalmers and Outer Drive in Detroit. However, his whole world stood still for a moment in 1951 when he attended a Greek dance and first met Helen. She became the love of his life and they were married shortly thereafter. Adding to the joy in his life, they soon had three wonderful children: Tommy, Gregory, and Andrea. In 1976, Thomas made the transition from drapery cleaning to restaurateur by purchasing his first Ram’s Horn on 12 Mile and Gratiot. Within a few years, he owned six different Ram’s Horn locations in Roseville, Southfield, Rochester Hills, Port Huron, Redford, and Frasier. His success in business was overshadowed in 1985 when he lost his beloved Helen to a battle with breast cancer. His family recalls the somber look on his face and how they wondered if he would ever smile again. Thomas had eight grandchildren to continue to light up his life and bring him joy, and as time heals all wounds, Thomas returned to his restaurants doing what he loved, serving the people. Frequent customers would comment that Thomas was always the nicest dressed person in the room; from his clothing to his smile, he always looked his best. His customers approached him and asked to start a “Classic Car Night” at his restaurant in Rochester Hills. People drove from all over to be together and fellowship at his Ram’s Horn every Tuesday in the summer. A photograph of Thomas’ first car that he owned is still proudly displayed in the lobby of the Rochester Hills Ram’s Horn. On October 1, 2010, at 82 years old, Thomas went home to be with the Lord and be reunited with his Helen.

About Tom and Ann Gendich

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