Mr. Thomas was born in Orangeburg County, South Carolina on January 12, 1930, to Eugene David and Maybelle Marian (Myers) Thomas.
He received a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering from the University of South Carolina in 1958. He was a lifelong Gamecock and leaves behind a legacy of Gamecocks in the younger generations as well. Mr. Thomas served on the Board of Visitors for the University of South Carolina.
Mr. Thomas enjoyed an almost 30-year career as an engineer, plant manager, and administrator in Oak Ridge, TN, Kokomo, IN, Florence, SC, Paducah, KY – and then back to Oak Ridge. He also served as a navigator in the Air Force and was stationed in Thule, Greenland during the Korean War.
He lived in Clinton for more than 25 years and was an active member of the community. You may have encountered him at his son’s optometry office where he worked making glasses, at the Y where he exercised well into his later years, at First Presbyterian Church, at a Pep Club event, or – most likely – at Whiteford’s, where he organized a coffee group that met every week for more than 20 years, bringing light and life both to its members and to the people they regularly charmed.
He was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by the state of South Carolina.
Mr. Thomas had the good fortune to be married to two amazing women – though not at the same time. His first wife, Bernie “Nana” Thomas, preceded him in death, and he is survived by his beloved Joyce Templeton, also of Clinton.
Many knew him as “Poppop,” and many look to him as a role model for who they want to be when they grow up. His friends will miss his wisdom; his family will miss his love.
He was the smartest man in the room all the way to the end, and if you were learning that for the first time, it only took the one time.
Mr. Thomas is survived by his wife, Joyce Templeton; his sons, Gill (and Nancy) Thomas of Clinton and their children, Caroline Manning, Patterson Thomas, Deana Giunta, and Karen Wham; Will (and Candace) Thomas of Marshall, Minnesota and their children, Maggie Stack and Anna Pearson; his daughter, Phyllis Thomas of Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and his 12 great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his first wife, Bernez Thomas, his parents, his eight siblings, and his grandson, Adam Thomas.
Funeral services will be conducted at First Presbyterian Church in Clinton at 11am on Friday, October 6.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.grayfuneralhome.com
Gray Funeral Home of Clinton