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 my hero.
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 of us.
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.
Mike Maloney 

This tribute used by the Chaplain as part of the memorial service opening.

Georges' Page