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Roger Thomas


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Roger Thomas Obituary
1929 - 2017 An Angeleno all his life, Roger was born to Julia Hayward and Charles Thomas in Hancock Park. He attended Third Street School and, as an altar boy, lit the way for a lifelong relationship with St. James Episcopal Church. Relocating to Washington, DC, during the war, he studied at St. Albans School while his father served as special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy. It was a different time. His cousin, Charlie Ross, who was Truman's press secretary, could give Roger a midnight tour of the president's private quarters in the White House. Roger continued his education at Phillips Exeter Academy before returning home to graduate from UCLA. During the Korean War, he joined the Navy as a Staff Officer. Despite disappointment at not being posted to a carrier until after the Armistice was signed, he served the peace in the Pacific aboard the USS Oriskany. Most important, he did not let it slip that his father was now Secretary of the Navy in the Eisenhower administration - an attitude of modesty and aversion to favoritism that he maintained all his life. His family always came first. A career in the insurance industry was followed by very active volunteer service at many non-profits including LACMA where he was a docent and the St. James food pantry and soup kitchen. A longtime member of the national Episcopal Church Foundation, he was also named an Honorary Canon of the Episcopal Church. In quieter moments, he enjoyed fly-fishing, photographing his family in action, fine food and wine, and, always, a good book. He is survived by his wife Marilyn Thomas, brother Hayward Thomas, children Ross Thomas, Karin Dunn, Debbie Collins, Peter Thomas and Charlie Thomas, and 12 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Services will be held on Saturday, June 17 at 11am at St. James on Wilshire Blvd. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Henry's Fork Foundation (https://henrysfork.org) to protect fish and wildlife in the Idaho waters where Roger fished for more than 50 years and where his children and many of their children caught his passion. They will reunite there later this summer to celebrate his life.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on June 8, 2017
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