Family reminisces about Thomas
Generous. Political. Caring. Hard-working.
These are words many use to describe John J. Thomas.
Thomas, 86, Brazil, died at Cloverleaf Health Care Thursday.
Services for Thomas will be at Brazil First United Methodist Church, Monday, at 11 a.m., with Rev. Robert Ostermeier officiating. Burial will be at Clearview Cemetery.
Thomas' obituary appears in today's newspaper on Page 3.
Although Thomas was born in Parke County, his name is synonymous with Clay County.
His family moved to Brazil in 1948. He became an attorney in that same year, and with the help of his brother Amos, the two eventually built Thomas and Thomas Law Firm eight years later.
"If you look up Type A personality, that was John Thomas," his son Jamie said. "I think he spent most of his life creating the image of a role model. He was a good role model, for not only the family, but for anyone who was involved with him."
Members of Thomas' family told The Brazil Times growing up in the household was a great experience.
"I always knew that he loved us," Thomas' daughter Jana Wilkes said. "He loved us and wanted to provide the best for us."
Joanna Connors, Thomas' daughter, agreed.
"I never worried," she said. "If we needed something, he provided it."
Wilkes said John instilled a tough work ethic in his children.
"He expected us to work to achieve," she said. "And he rewarded and praised us when we did."
Jamie added the family traveled frequently, something John enjoyed immensely.
"It was a way to spend quality time with us," he said.
"He wanted us to have experiences," Wilkes continued. "He wanted us to learn other cultures."
"He was so generous," Connors added. "He gave us more than we asked for. He wanted us to enjoy our childhood."
His children said their father was from the "Greatest Generation." Being from that era, John did not waste anything or take anything for granted.
"He had a lot of farm boy traits," Jamie said.
Jamie said his father was a huge Chicago Cubs' fan. When he was younger, working on the family farm, Jamie said his father would pick beans, but snap them inside so he could listen to the radio broadcast of the Cubs' game.
John also spent 24 years as a State Representative. Jamie said his father was a Republican, but had an "open mind."
"Most of his voting was on what he thought was best for his district," Jamie said.
Connors added some of her best memories of spending time with her father included making gooseberry pie with him.
"He was bound and determined to do that," she said.
His influence filtered down to his grandchildren as well.
"He had a great impact on them," Connors said.
"He was so very generous," granddaughter Christine Wolf said. "He had a strong work ethic. He read a lot. He knew a lot about the world. He was interested in the world."
Wolf -- who once taught at Staunton -- said he came to her classroom once to discuss government.
"Everybody looked up to him so much," Connors said. "He had so much character."