Corsicana Daily Sun
Ronald Gene Thomas, 80, died March 10, 2013, in Austin, Texas. He was born Nov. 11, 1932, as the fourth child of Wade Davidson Thomas and Vera Gladys (Staggs) Thomas in Navarro County, Texas. His parents were blessed with eight additional children who survived to adulthood. He grew up in the Kerens area and declared all his life how proud he was to be a sixth generation Texan.
His family has a long history of military service to our nation. Ronald, known most of his life to his friends as Tom, continued that tradition of military service by joining the United States Marine Corps in 1950. He was 17 at the time and joined with his mother’s consent. He had to wait until his 18th birthday before deploying to fight in the Korean War. He also served our nation in the Vietnam War as a member of Ammunition Company, Supply Battalion, 1st Forced Service Regiment, Forced Logistics Command. Having joined the Marine Corps before graduating from high school, Ronald earned his GED during his military service. After completing 20 years of service, he retired in 1970 with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2. His service and rank at retirement earned him the nickname “Gunner” amongst certain family and friends. Frequently quoting the Marine Corps motto Semper Fidelis, Ronald believed the Marine Corps offers a solid foundation for life’s experiences. He carried the lesson of physical fitness he learned in the Marine Corp into his retirement. If anyone doubted his love of the Marine Corps, they’d be reminded by the crew cut he maintained all his life or the big collection of caps he loved to wear to display his service.
Ronald married Barbara Carol Thiede on May 11, 1963, at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Long Beach, Calif. They were blessed with children, Jefferson Stuart and Lynne Marlane.
In 1971, Ronald accepted employment with the University of Texas at Austin Police Department. He worked full-time and went to college at night to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from American Technological University in 1976. He particularly enjoyed mentoring the many younger officers at UT who experienced his “Thomas Training” based on all the disciplines he learned as a Marine. Always a gun enthusiast, he won several marksmanship awards in shooting contests. He progressed through the ranks of the department and retired as a Lieutenant, Shift Commander in 1991.
Ronald’s greatest challenge came in December of 1990 when injuries he sustained while hunting left him a quadriplegic. Although confined to a wheelchair the rest of his life, this outdoorsman created a new life within his physical limitations. He became well-known to the deer population around the Georgetown area as he spent much time putting corn out in the yard for them. Ronald displayed his patriotism by maintaining several United States and Marine Corps flags in the yard and his conservative politics by his campaign yard signs and bumper stickers.
He was preceded in death by his parents and four brothers, Harvey, Wade, Windol, and Jackie.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara; his children, Jefferson and Lynne; his sisters Deene Wadsworth, Renee (Ernest) Waller, Beth (Bob) Allen, and Gwen (Marshall) Faulk; his brothers Carlos, Don Earl, and Larry, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends.
Assisted by Corley Funeral Home, the burial service will be held on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at Campbell Elrod Cemetery near Corsicana, Texas.
The family requests that Masses be offered for Ronald’s soul and suggests that contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to: Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 75817, Topeka, KS 66675; or Campbell-Elrod Cemetery Association, c/o Lester Easley, 537 NWCR 2110, Corsicana, TX 75110.
Sympathy cards may be sent to 6467 Garland Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76116.
Réquiem ætérnam dona ei Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat in pace.