Ruby Eileen Elston Thomas was born to Ray M. and Rosella (Harpster) Elston on April 18, 1931. Eileen was the fourth born of eight children. On May 27, 1950, she married her high school sweetheart Noel E. “Bud” Thomas who preceded her in death on April 18, 2013. Eileen joined Bud in glory on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at The Gardens of Paulding.

Eileen graduated from Grover Hill Local Schools in 1949, with honors. While in school, she was active in band, choir, cheerleading, yearbook staff, and class plays. After getting married and having her family, she attended Bluffton College and Bowling Green State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Mrs. Thomas taught school at Paulding Exempted Village Schools and then at Grover Hill/Wayne Trace Elementary School. She retired in 1989, having taught for 27 years.

While raising their two daughters, Eileen and Bud enjoyed traveling. During their early retirement years, they spent several winters in Florida before moving into assisted living at The Gardens of Paulding in 2012. While living on the farm, Eileen busied herself with gardening, sewing, crocheting, reading, and doing jigsaw puzzles. Through her adult life, she was active in Middle Creek United Methodist Church and also in the Latta-Wa Ladies extension club. Eileen and Bud spent a lot of time with their six grandchildren, taking them camping and attending their school activities. After retiring, they also enjoyed playing cards with some of their closest friends.

Surviving are her daughters: Nola (Gary) Ginter and Ruby (Donald) Crossland; six grandchildren: Bethany (Matthew) Saris, Benjamin (Laura) Ginter, Brittany (Matthew) Gurtzweiler, Maely (Garrett) Alexander, Martin (Shannon) Crossland, and Jace Crossland; eleven great grandchildren: Alexa, Jillian, Allison, and Mackenzie Saris; Samuel Ginter; Kaitlyn and Kyle Gurtzweiler; Nicholas and Samantha Alexander; and Carter and Logan Crossland. Also surviving are two sisters: Lois Kohn and Rosalie (Roger) McClure; and two brothers: Don (Dessie) Elston and Gerry (Cathy) Elston; and many nephews and nieces.

Greeting her in her new heavenly home, along with husband Bud, are her parents, brothers, Lloyd Elston and Randy Elston and sister Colleen (Elston) Cook; in-laws John and Peggy (Thomas) Bidlack, Orpha (Corkwell) Elston, Kenneth Kohn, Jr., Carl Cook, and Barb (Stahl) Elston.

A funeral service for Eileen was held at Middle Creek United Methodist Church, Grover Hill, on Monday, March 28, 2022, with Pastor Gary N. Ginter, officiating. Burial followed at Middle Creek Cemetery.

Family and friends showed their respect at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory on Sunday, March 27, 2022, and prior to services Monday at the church.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Preferred memorials can be made to the Middle Creek United Methodist Church.

Arrangements were entrusted to Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home and Crematory, Van Wert, Ohio.