Ranger Exes Memorial - RHS Class of 1938

Dorotha Bruce Thomas DOROTHA JEAN BRUCE THOMAS, 90, went to be with her Lord Jesus Christ on Oct. 17, 2011. She went to Heaven while at home surrounded by her loving family, with burial at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene, TX. Jean was born in Ranger, TX, on Sept. 8, 1921 to Lloyd Lee & Daisy Cook Bruce. Jean grew up in Ranger, TX & graduated from Ranger High School in 1938. She attended Baylor University &graduated with a B.A. degree in Speech and a minor in English in 1942. After graduation, Jean moved to Jackson, MS, where she worked for Bell Telephone Company. While in Mississippi, Jean met the love of her life, Albert Patrick "Pat" Thomas Jr. while he was on a 30 day leave from the U.S. Navy. At the time, Pat was serving in the Pacific Theater. Jean and Pat corresponded by mail for a year, and on Pat's next thirty day leave, they were married in June of 1945. Jean and Pat have been happily married for sixty-six and a half years, leaving a legacy of love & devotion for all who knew them. Their time together was an example of a marriage made in heaven. Jean was a dedicated wife, mother and homemaker raising four children, Rick, Bruce, David, and Sylvia, in Abilene. After their children were grown, Jean & Pat relocated to Midland where Jean began an active career as a real estate agent and broker. Jean's family is proud of her service to her church and community throughout the years. She was a faithful member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church of Abilene and First United Methodist Church of Midland. Jean served as President of the United Methodist Women. She also served as President of the Midland Service Civic and Social Club. She was involved in other clubs and organizations in the Midland community including the Midland Woman's Club, the Midland Society of University Women and Bible Study Fellowship. Jean loved to play bridge and was an avid square dancer. Jean was preceded in death by her parents and her son David Michael Thomas. She is survived by her husband Pat Thomas, three children: Albert Patrick (Rick) Thomas III and his wife Mary Ellen of Colleyville, Bruce Phillip Thomas and his wife Jere of Sterling City, Sylvia Thomas Cook of Roanoke, a daughter-in-law, Carla Key Thomas of Euless and one sister Rosemary Bruce Smith (RHS-1944) of New Braunfels. Jean is also survived by eleven grand- children, nine great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. HUSBAND: ALBERT PATRICK "PAT" THOMAS, JR. of Midland, TX on June 13, 2014 surrounded by family, 94 year old Pat Thomas, & member of the "Greatest Generation", passed away and into the loving arms of his God and Savior. He was a remarkable man! Referred to by his family & many of those who knew him as the "bravest, most courageous, and yet, most gentle man" they had ever known...a truly rare combination of human traits. He spent his entire professional life in the West Texas towns of, Ranger, Abilene, San Angelo, & Midland...but he always maintained the "roots of his raisin', a true Southern Gentleman, having been born and raised as the youngest of eight children on a rural farm in Newton, MS, on Nov. 14, 1919, the son of Albert Patrick and Virginia (Jennie) Agnes Weir Thomas, Sr. Burial was at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene, TX. He was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of 66 years, "Jeanie Babe", Dorotha Jean Bruce Thomas (RHS-1938) of Ranger, TX. Upon graduation from Newton High School, he became the first of his family to graduate from college, first attending Decatur Junior College and then the University of Southern Mississippi on a full football scholarship. After graduating in 1941, he entered the Officer's Candidate School in the U.S. Navy at the University of Notre Dame. No one can ever truly explain why so many sacrifice their life while others almost inexplicably survive, but the young Lieutenant Pat Thomas was one of the fortunate who did. As Boat Wave Commander of the First Wave, he, along with his good friend, John Fansmith, from Baltimore, MD, led the first wave of not just one, but the Amphibious Invasions of the enemy Japanese-held islands of Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan, Guam, Leyte, Luzon, & Okinawa. Despite constant enemy air attacks, shell, and mortar fire, Lt. Thomas performed his vital duties with courage and skill ...even surviving a direct hit to his boat in which 1/3 of his men were killed immediately. He was awarded his country's Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Silver Star, and a Citation from the Commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral C. W. Nimitz and the Secretary of the Navy, for his "inspiring leadership, tenacious devotion to duty and unselfish efforts on behalf of his companions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United State Navel Service." Before his duty in the Pacific, one of the personal high- lights of Daddy's Naval Career, was as very young 22 year old Lieutenant serving on the USS Monrovia in her first assault assignment in the Mediterranean. As fortune would have it, he was serving as Officer of the Day on June 30, 1943, when Lt. General George S. Patton, asked permission from the young Lieutenant to "come aboard". He was then entrusted with landing General Patton on the island of Sicily. Daddy said Patton was the most inspiring, commanding 'presence' he ever had ever known. After safely transporting Patton, the Monrovia was reassigned to the Pacific...where all the 'fun' began...and also, as fate would have it, Daddy was again Officer of the day when General Douglas MacArthur requested permission from Daddy to "Come Aboard". Daddy was a salesman. He enjoyed a long and successful career with Ralston Purina Feed Company from 1957 until 1990, when at age 70 he was forced to retire. In his final year with Purina at age 70, he was Purina's #1 Salesman in the U.S. His proudest accomplishment, however, was his family, and being a life-long member of the United Methodist Church, serving in numerous lay leadership positions, as Sunday School teacher at both St. Paul UMC in Abilene and the First United Methodist Church in Midland, and being a life-long supporter of the United Methodist's Children Home in Waco, TX. At the time of his death, he was survived by son Albert Patrick (Rick) Thomas III, and his children Patrick IV, and Sarah Thomas of Nashville, TN; son Bruce Phillip Thomas (Jere) of Sterling City, TX, and their children Phillip (Molly) Thomas of Elgin, TX, Lee Pat Thomas of Lubbock, TX, Janell (Paige) Dempsey of Abilene, TX, & April (Drew) Reed of Shallowater, TX.; son David Michael Thomas, deceased, & widow Carla Thomas of Euless, TX, and their children, Brad (Mary) Thomas of Denton, TX, Darin (Emily) Thomas of Fort Worth, TX, and Jennifer Schumacher of Euless, TX; daughter Sylvia Thomas Barritt (Duane), & her children, Molly (Kris) Powell of Dallas, TX, and Morgan Cook of Lubbock, TX. Pat is also survived by his 12 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.