Obituary of Raymond Thomason
Raymond Thomason, Jr. On June 17, 2005 we lost our father, Raymond Thomason, Jr., the family patriarch. He was born in Memphis, Texas on January 20, 1926. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Ruby and Raymond Thomason, Sr., with whom he had a special relationship, his brother Monty Don, his wife Maryana, his son David, and his grandson Patrick. He is survived by his son, Raymond III of Salt Lake City, his daughter and son-in-law Holly and Jim Hays and his grandchildren Chance, Kenneth, Christian, Elizabeth, Hillary, Christopher and Lindsey, and his great-grandchildren Isabel and Josephine. Those of us whose lives were blessed by Raymond Jr. enjoyed knowing the quintessential gentleman. He had style, grace and class that was unprecedented. In his time with us, he touched all who knew him. He embraced life's opportunities with passion. He loved the Methodist Church, McMurry University and his home. He was an accomplished businessman, developer, actor, singer, poetry reader, oil painter, sailor, and biblical scholar. He was a true renaissance man. He was a dreamer of dreams but more importantly he made those dreams come true. It was his strong sense of self and determination that served him well as he faced and overcame may adversities in his journey through life. That life was full of accomplishments. Raymond graduated from Abilene High School. He attended Hardin Simmons University, McMurry University and the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California. He was so proud of his time studying dramatic theater at the Playhouse but his sense of commitment to his country was even greater. He left the Playhouse to enlist in the Air Force during World War II, where he trained as a fighter pilot. He attended St. Paul UMC where he was an active member and taught 6th grade Sunday School in the 60's. He loved politics and he was proud of his affiliation with the Democratic Party. He served as President of the Young Democrats of Texas. He was the Campaign Manager for the Democratic Party in West Texas on several state and national elections. He worked closely with Sam Rayburn on John F. Kennedy's Presidential campaign and with John Connelly on LBJ's US Senate and Presidential campaign. His community service was prolific. He served as the President of the Abilene Jaycees. He was active with the Chamber of Commerce and was voted Outstanding Young Man of the Year. He was involved in both the Shiners and Mason organizations. He had a strong commitment to Abilene's youth in Little League baseball. He provided resources for baseball parks; he sponsored a team and personally coached in the major league for many years. Raymond loved theater arts and was one of the founding fathers of Abilene Community Theater. He was on the Board of Directors and a major financial contributor for ACT. From 1954 to 1965, he was the leading man in at least two productions per year. He also had a poetry reading show on KWKC radio. Following WWII, Raymond Jr., his father and his brother formed Thomason Enterprises, which owned and operated Lonestar Lumber and Building Suppliers. Thomason Enterprises developed approximately 1800 homes in the major residential areas of Abilene, including the River Oaks subdivision and a large portion of residential tracks in Midland. In 1956, Thomason Enterprises built the first high end shopping center, River Oaks, in Abilene and the only luxury hotels, The Sands, between Fort Worth and El Paso, in Abilene and Midland, Texas. In 1972, Raymond Jr. acquired over 1000 acres of undeveloped land along the Dallas-Ft. Worth toll way between Ft. Worth and Arlington in a joint venture with United Savings. In the early 80's, United Savings dropped out of the development leaving Raymond Jr. as the sole owner. Since 1972, his main effort has been developing this property he named Eastchase Parkway, one of the largest developments in Texas, second only to the DFW Airport. He continued to be active in Abilene, developing subdivisions around Lytle Lake. He was a member of the National Association of Homebuilders. He gave freely of his time and talents to Ben Richey Boys Ranch, WTRC Telethons, Miss Abilene Pageants and The Women's Haven in Arlington. Finally his legacy to his children- Raymond III, Holly Ann and David. He taught them not only to dream, but to have big dreams. Those dreams could be obtained with hard work and determination of purpose. During difficult times he would often quote Sir Winston Churchill, "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." Certainly, this was his credo. He taught his children the importance of the teachings of Jesus and the strength that could be found in the Christian faith. But most importantly he taught them not only to respect and believe in themselves but to respect and honor all men and women no matter what race or creed. It was in that lesson of respect for others one could find the essence of his class, style and dignity which made him the gentleman we all knew and loved. Finally, his struggles have come to an end and he is at peace. We will miss you Raymond. Thank you for all that you gave us, taught us and shared with us. He lived a life following the passions of his heart, marching to the beat of his own drum. As Frank Sinatra sang, "I did it My Way", so Raymond Thomason Jr. lived. Funeral service will be held Monday, June 20, 2005 at 2:00 pm at St. Paul United Methodist Church at 525 Beech Street in Abilene, Texas. Burial will follow in Elmwood Memorial Park under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Community Foundation of Abilene, Ben Richey Boy's Ranch, McMurry University and The Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorder Clinic, Dept. of Neurology, 6550 Fannin Street, Suite 1801, Houston, Texas 77030.
St. Paul United Methodist Church 525 Beech Abilene, TX 79601 Monday, June 20, 2005 2:00 pm
Elmwood Memorial Park 5750 Us Highway 277 S Abilene , TX 79606