William Thomas – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

From a Contemporary Press Report

William Thomas, 85, a retired Atomic Energy Commission supply specialist and Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who had lived in the Washington area since the early 1950s, died of cancer October 30, 2001, at the Hospice of Northern Virginia.

He began his civilian government career in 1946 with the Veterans Administration, transferring to the AEC in 1952. He retired from the commission in 1971.

Colonel Thomas, who lived in Arlington, was a graduate of Bloomsburg University in his native Pennsylvania. He served on active duty in the Corps of Engineers in the Southwest Pacific theater during World War II and retired from the reserve in 1975.

At Bloomsburg, he served as president of the Kappa Delta Pi education honor society.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Virginia Clark Thomas of Arlington; a son, William Clark Thomas of Falls Church; and a grandson.


On Tuesday, October 30, 2001, at the Hospice Acute Care Facility in Arlington, VA. Born in Scranton, PA in 1915, he earned a B.S. Degree in 1938 from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania where he was President of the National Education Honor Fraternity Kappa Delta Pi.

After college he briefly taught physics and chemistry at Central High School in Scranton, PA.

He joined the Armed Services in October, 1941, and later graduated from the Officer's Candidate School, Corps of Engineers, Fort Belvoir, VA in 1942. He served in World War II as Commanding Officer of the Corps of Engineers Depot in Oro Bay, New Guinea and later in Australia.

Upon leaving active duty in the late '40s he served as Supply Officer in a 1000-bed Veteran's Hospital in Butler, PA. In the early fifties he moved to Arlington, VA, where he left the Veteran's Administration and began service with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and served there until his retirement. He continued to serve simultaneously as a U.S. Army Reserve Officer with the rank of Lt. Colonel. During his Reserve Officer career he transferred from the Corps of Engineers to the Medical Services Corps and spent his annual active duty at various Army medical posts in the Washington, D.C. area, but primarily at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Virginia Clark Thomas; his son, William Clark Thomas; daughter-in-law, Joan Tipton Thomas and his grandson, William Tipton Thomas, who was his pride and joy. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery.

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