J.W. Thomas, 93, died October 13, 2019. A celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday, October 16 at 2:00 p.m. at Harper Talasek Chapel in Belton. A family visitation will be held on Tuesday at Harper Talasek from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
A WWII veteran and member of the Greatest Generation, J.W. participated in the liberation of France and southern Germany where he earned a Bronze Star in combat. He was born in Belton and graduated with distinction from both Baylor University and Baylor Law School. He served as Temple City Judge for more than 10 years, chairman of the Bell County Democratic Party, and proud coach of two city conference championship little league teams (Chupik Wood and Temple Telegram).
He was an attorney by trade, with private practices in Bell and Dallas counties. He also contained multitudes in the American spirit of Walt Whitman, with an expansive love of music ranging from Bob Wills and Johnny Cash to Cecilia Bartoli and Maria Callas. His photographic memory included beloved recitations from Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, Damon Runyon, and the Three Stooges. His love of science and reverence for medical research led to a lifelong study of physics and theoretical mathematics, as well as extensive volunteer work at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. He maintained a commitment to health and fitness into his late eighties, and many remember him as “the walking man” who walked long distances dressed in a three-piece suit and pulling a briefcase, regardless of the Texas weather.
J.W. was an engaged, supportive, and entirely devoted father who called his daughter Marie Curie and often described watching his son’s first base hit as one of the most exciting moments of his life. Another proud moment was the birth of his namesake and grandson, J.W. (Joshua William) Thomas. He was also a loyal friend known for his kindness, his encyclopedic mind, and his Stetson Open Road hat. He was a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas and United Methodist Church in Killeen.
He is predeceased by his parents, Senator John William Thomas and Elizabeth Gower Thomas and sister, Elizabeth Little. He is survived by his son, Paul Thomas and his wife Linda Davis of Bell County; daughter, Dr. Tammis Thomas of Houston; grandson, Joshua Thomas of Austin; former wife, Marilyn Bradley of Temple; and lifelong friend and fellow prankster, Dr. A.E. Ballard of Temple.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation.