Thomas, Richard L.
A reporter 15 years for the former Phoenix Gazette, and later an administrative aide to the late U.S. Senator Paul Fannin and the late Congressman Sam Steiger, died in Phoenix on June 30, 2014 at age 87. He was born April 12, 1927 in Mattoon, IL. Military services for the WWII Navy Veteran will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Rd., Phoenix on Friday, August 8, 2014 at 9 am. Thomas came to Phoenix in 1953 from Mattoon, IL, where he worked as a reporter for the Journal Gazette and the Centralia Sentinel. He retired in 1989 as a public information officer for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Thomas's first job at 16 was as a telegrapher for the Illinois Central Railroad. He was an amateur radio operator with the call sign AC7SW. After Navy service in World War II, Thomas attended Eastern Illinois University and Northwestern University. It was at Eastern where he met Ruth St. John. They married on August 12, 1949. This August would have been their 65th wedding anniversary. He was the author of two non-fiction books. He wrote "Chicken Tommy and Other Stories" an illustrated history of Humboldt Township, Illinois. With his wife Ruth, he also wrote "Arizona Facts and Artifacts" a series of 132 historical vignettes. Thomas was the only child of Clarence and Helen Reese Thomas of Humboldt, Illinois. He is survived by his wife, Ruth St. John Thomas; son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Karen of Phoenix; daughter and son-in-law, Suzanne and Kent Young, and granddaughter Kinsey Young, of Leander, TX; and grandsons Ryan Young of Santa Rosa, CA and Stephen Young, of El Paso, TX. In lieu of flowers, please honor his memory by donating to either the USO or Brookwood in Georgetown (BiG), a vocational program for adults with cognitive delays that his granddaughter Kinsey attends. Donations can be sent to: USO, Department WS, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20090 or 2) Brookwood in Georgetown, 347 Mason Ct., Georgetown, TX 78628. Please visit www.hansenmortuary.com for online condolences.
Published in The Arizona Republic on July 3, 2014