George Thomas was my friend
We came into the world a few days apart in
August of 1938
We didn't meet until we were 15, and almost
driving age. Our fathers were both in law enforcement.
We were both only children. It was a law enforcement gathering.
George was more mature, more confident, more
smooth, more everything.
This became clear to me as I observed how he
quickly wound up in the boat, rowing Ruby Triggs around Skippy's small lake.
Ruby was the daughter of a Clay County Deputy. She was a year older than us.
To say she was attractive understates the situation. Starting then, George was
I was a new kid at Liberty High School that
fall. George helped me get acquainted with everybody. Feeling
acceptance from a group is what every kid hopes for. I have George to thank
for that feeling of acceptance that meant so much to me. George and I have
long shared the view that being a part of our class of '56 is a bragging
point. The friendships that came out of that group have been precious to all
I had a part time job during high school, at
a gas station out on the highway. It included working the midnight shift
every Saturday night. George lived about a quarter mile from the station. He
spent hours helping me pass the time in the wee hours of uncountable Sunday
mornings. We would talk for hours at a time. I could write a book about him.
After high school, our paths were
different. George went into the service for six months and then embarked on a
career. College and law school occupied my attention. But all my college
fraternity brothers knew and loved George. While still in high school , he
played the piano for the Phi Gams at Jewell when they needed somebody. It was
through him that I got acquainted with the fraternity. More lifetime
friendships that George led me to.
There is a picture of my law school
graduating class taken on a social occasion. George is in the front row. He
was smuggled into the picture. My law school buddies still mention that prank
now and then.
Our paths further separated as the years
went on. George's move to Hutchinson didn't help any. But we stayed in
sufficient touch that I know what a line graph of George's life would look
like. At the point where DeAnne entered George's life the line would shoot up
and stay. It is DeAnne that George's friends know gave him all the things that
make life worthwhile, and kept that famous George Thomas smile on his
face. I believe she was the source of the strength and courage George
displayed as his last illness took it's course.
My friend George Thomas had a good life. I
couldn't have asked for a better friend. But I was only one of the multitude of his
friends. George will be remembered and missed wherever and whenever his friends gather
from now on.
This tribute used by the Chaplain as part of
the memorial service opening.