In memory of
William Charles Thomas
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In memory of
William Charles Thomas
After a productive and honorable life, William C. Thomas (Bill) passed away peacefully on October 9, 2016 in Palm Desert, California. He is especially remembered for his leadership of the fledgling Crescenta Valley High School as it opened its doors in 1960, and serving there as principal for twenty years.Bill was born in Glendale, California to Ellis E. Thomas and Doris Ingledue Thomas on June 28, 1925, joining his older sister Jean Thomas Cadwallader. He attended local schools, including Doran Street School (now R.D. White), Wilson Junior High, and Glendale High. As a youth he actively participated in the YMCA, parks and recreation, and Glendale First Methodist Church. He considered himself a "late bloomer" when it came to academics. Bill joined the Navy following high school graduation and attended school at the University of Colorado and Montana School of Mines. In 1945 he was commissioned as an Ensign Lieutenant and assigned to a ship deployed to the South Pacific. On the return trip to the West Coast from the Pacific, Bill was assigned the duty of playing acey-deucey with a full Captain who was aboard the LST. He took a liking to Bill and paved his way into admission to Occidental College. Bill earned bachelor's degrees in math and physics and a master's degree in education at Occidental. He then began his career in education with the Glendale Unified School District.Bill met Mona Zechiel, also a native of Glendale, on a church trip to Yosemite. They were married in 1949 and enjoyed 62 years of marriage until her passing in 2011.When plans were made to establish a high school in in the burgeoning Crescenta Valley in 1960, he was named the founding principal. He was exceedingly proud of the staff and students and attended most every athletic event, concert, and play. He continually sung the praises of the dedicated leadership that the early students and faculty members lent to the school, establishing a tradition of excellence. Every vacation began and ended with a drive by CV. He kept in contact with legions of educators and alumni of the school. He will forever be remembered as a true Falcon.He later earned his doctoral degree at USC and after his long tenure as principal at Crescenta Valley, began a rewarding teaching career in the graduate education department at Cal State University Northridge.His teaching prowess extended to the game of bridge, a passion throughout his life. He would play any time, any where, bringing him endless hours of pleasure. He played right up to the end of his days, stating that he still had so much to learn about the game. He taught bridge to PTA groups, on cruise ships, to friends and neighbors, and attempted to teach his children the game.Bill and Mona took advantage of travel opportunities, from station wagons and tents across the West to international travel with friends. Washington D.C. trips with the grandkids provided each one with a desire to travel and to expand their horizons. Bill and Mona retired to Palm Desert in 1997 and quickly became active participants in their new community. Bill has happily lived at Segovia the past five years, again making good friends and continuing to find vibrant bridge partners.He is survived by children Steve Thomas (Diana) of Renton, WA, Nancy Graham (Terry O'Brien) of Ventura and Sue Williams (Larry) of Green Valley. Seven grandchildren welcomed his encouragement and good cheer: David Graham (Courtney), Jennifer Loomer (Tim), Jordan Graham (Caitlin), Joseph Thomas (Andrea), Brittany Bowen (Blake), Lindsay Todd (Matt), and Paul Williams. 13 great-grandchildren are thankful for his kindness in their young lives: Mackenzie, Mason, Marin, and Micah Graham, Nathaniel and Coralie Loomer, Aurora, Conrad, Sebastian, and Truett Bowen, and Evelyn, Gloria, and Josephine Todd.Bill's steady leadership, deep faith in God, and concern for others will be missed. His family will joyfully celebrate his life in late October.Donations in his memory may be made to Small Change for Big Change, a CVHS alumni non-profit that raises funds for educational excellence at the school.Gifts can be made online at scbcnow.org or by mail:SCBCc/o Alice MiyakePO Box 3809South Pasadena, CA 91031
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