Charles Struthers Thomas
(1868 –1945)

Mr. Thomas was 46 years old when this picture was taken in 1914. He had already had two very successful careers operating steel mills here in the Mahoning Valley and from their profits had been able to retired at the early age of 37. It was in 1916 that he began his third business enterprise by acquiring the controlling interest in Deforest Steel and Tinplate Co. of Nile, Ohio. As its president, Mr. Thomas was able to negotiate the sale of this company three year later to The Republic Iron and Steel Co. for a handsome profit and at the age of 50 retire for good. About this time his 21 year old daughter, Marion, was dating a young man named Cyril Deibel, who had just started working for The Twin Dry Cell Battery Co. in Cleveland. (See the last issue)

Charles S. Thomas, W.A. Thomas (no relation), and Charles Deibel (Cyril’s father) made a major investment in the Battery Co. and acquired 85% of the stock. This was done at the instigation of “Cy” Deibel, Mr. Charles Thomas’s future son-in-law. During the lean years of the battery company, Mr. Charles Thomas continued to invest, giving him the controlling interest when the battery company became profitable. He remained a company director until his health began to fail in the 1940s.
Going back to his early life, Charles S. Thomas was born in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland near Glasgow in December 12, 1868. When he was 13, his father and mother died and he moved to Struthers, Ohio, to accept work at The Summers Brothers Company, a sheet-steel rolling mill. (Charles’s mother was a Summers) In 1880 he renounced his allegiance to Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and became a U.S. citizen. In January 1894 Charles Thomas married Helen Audry Struthers and in 1898 their daughter, Marion, was born. During this time the Summers Brothers Company was renamed The Struthers Iron and Steel Company and Charles Thomas became its Vice President. When Andrew Carnegie purchased the Struthers operations in 1900, Charles moved to Niles, Ohio, and built The Empire Iron and Steel Co. It was sold in 1906 and with another nice profit in hand Mr. Thomas retired and joined a group of industrialist planning and building the President William McKinley Memorial in Niles.
As stated above, Charles S. Thomas retired a second time in 1919. He was then living in a house located on the prestigious Wick Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio. During the mid-20s and during the Great Depression Mr. Thomas made a number of ill-fated investments in small steel companies. But fortune no longer was smiling on Charles and in 1940 he filed bankruptcy. All of his fortune from steel business was gone – he admitted to losing $800,000 in one venture alone.
Mr. Thomas had become a 32
nd Mason and was an avid golfer. He belonged to the Youngstown Country Club and was a founding member of the Trumbull C.C. in Warren. He died on February 18, 1945 at the age of 76 and was buried in Poland’s Riverside Cemetery. Next to his grave you will find his wife, Helen (1869-1975*), his daughter, Marion and her husband, Cyril who died later in 1945, and his son and daughter-in-law, Dudley (1903-1978) and Sara Jane Thomas (1909-1975). *106 yrs. old