News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 18, 2012

Gilbert Owen Thomas Jr.


TERRE HAUTE — Gilbert Owen Thomas Jr., 88, of Terre Haute, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, in South Bend. He was born Aug. 14, 1924, in a rural farmhouse in Clay County, Ind., to Gilbert Owen and Artie Leora (Harris) Thomas. Immediately after graduation from Clay City High School, he enlisted and served his country proudly in the United States Navy during World War II, participating in both the European and Pacific campaigns. He married the love of his life, Joanne Elizabeth (Miller) Thomas in 1950. They were married for 61 years until she preceded him in death. Gilbert earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana State University. He taught English and Humanities for 34 years at Sarah Scott, Wiley High School and most recently Terre Haute South Vigo, where he also served as chairman of the English Department. Gilbert was a dedicated and talented educator. He taught generations of his students how to eloquently express their ideas, both orally and in written word, and opened their eyes to great works of literature. Gilbert also was a devoted and beloved father to his son, Flint and daughter, Beth. Gilbert retired from teaching in 1989 and spent his retirement years enjoying fishing, trap and target shooting, golf, canoeing, gardening, building intricately detailed model sailing ships, and radio controlled model airplanes. Gilbert also was well known for his talent in chair caning. Together, Joanne and Gilbert enjoyed square dancing, book study groups and traveling both near and far. They held a special love for their yearly trips to Panama City Beach, Fla. Gilbert was an active member of Kiwanis and Memorial United Methodist Church, where he could often be found with the Finders and Seekers group and the “Good Old Boys”. Most of all, Gilbert could always be found with a smile on his face and all the time in the world to listen to and help his friends and neighbors who deeply loved him. He will be sorely missed.

Gilbert is survived by his children, Flint Owen Thomas and his wife Jacqueline of Granger, and Beth Schacht and her husband Dave of Elmhurst, Ill.; sister, Gloria Jeanette Griffith of Lexington, Ky.; grandchildren, Aaron Gilbert Thomas and his wife Teresa, Andrea Elizabeth Thomas, Sean Owen Thomas, Matthew Rainier Schacht, Miles Remington Schacht, and Mason Rhys Schacht; nephews, Brad, Mark, Kent, Eric, Scott, and Brett; and nieces, Christy, Teresa, Holly, Susan, and Diane.

 Visitation will be on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, from noon until 2 p.m. at Roselawn Funeral Home, 7500 N. Clinton St. A funeral ceremony will be on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, at 2 p.m. in the funeral home with the Rev. Scott Johnson officiating. Burial will follow in Roselawn Memorial Park with military rites performed by VFW Post 972. Online condolences may be made at: