Gerald Thomas and Anna Noteboom From the collection of Lawrence John Reilly Sr.
172 Miller Avenue, Brooklyn
Image capture: Oct 2014, © Google
Gerald Francis Thomas was born on March 10, 1902 in Queens, New York to Anna Henrietta Noteboom and Francis Theodore Thomas.1 By the age of 3, the family was living at 172 Miller Avenue in Brooklyn, along with three other families. His father was working as a shirt ironer, and his mother was at home with him and his baby sister Mae, who had been born two years earlier.2 By 1910, his dad had left the family and his mother was raising him and his two siblings on her own. (Baby brother Frank had been born in 1908. The family had moved to 465 Belmont Avenue in Brooklyn, which was a duplex shared with one other family.3
Anna Noteboom Thomas, with Gerald, Mae and Frank Thomas. circa 1915. courtesy of cousin Paul.
Frank, Mae and Gerald Thomas
courtesy of cousin Paul
Mae, Gerald, Frank and Anna Thomas
courtesy of cousin Paul
As a young teenager, Gerald was helping his mother make ends meet with a series of odd jobs around the neighborhood.4 The family was now living at 2762 Atlantic Avenue, and had taken on a boarder named Alice Cokely. Gerald, Mae and Frank, ranging in ages from 13 down to 7, were all in school.5 In 1918, Gerald registered for the draft for World War I, stating his birth date at 10 March 1900. He was working as a chauffeur for V. Henning & Sons on Belmont Avenue in Brooklyn. He is described on the draft card as medium height and medium build, with brown eyes and black hair.6 By 1920, Gerald was 18 years old, and was no longer attending school. He still lived at home with his mother and two siblings at their home on Atlantic Avenue.7
147 Schenck Avenue, Brooklyn
Image capture: Oct 2014 ©2015 Google
In March 1923, Gerald married the love of his live, Louise Schillinger. They were married at Louise’s parents’ house at 169 Van Siclen Avenue in Brooklyn. Their brothers got in an argument at the reception, and her brother Louie chased Frank from the house, catching his foot on the fence, breaking his leg, and bringing the reception to an abrupt end.8 In 1925, the young family found themselves living at 147 Schenck Avenue with their baby daughter, Ethel. Two other families lived in the house, including Gerald’s Aunt Honey and her family (the Weymers). Gerald was working as a letter carrier. 9 Five years later, they were still at the Schenck house, along with another daughter, Marion (my grandmother), and Gerald’s mother, Anna Thomas.10
By 1940, Gerald and Louise had moved their family to Queens, renting one half of a duplex that they shared with the Almon family at 110-21 107th Street. Gerald was a printer, working for an insurance company and earning $2200 a year. The rent for the home was $35 per month.11
Gerald and Louise were married for 55 years. Louise passed away on July 9, 1978. Gerald passed away just under a year later on June 24, 1979.12