Chester “Archie” Thomas, long-time resident of Brownwood, passed away Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 after a short illness. He was known as Archie by his friends, Dad by his children, and Chaw Chaw by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Archie always showed kindness to friends and strangers alike, and everyone enjoyed his gentle sense of humor. He loved and treasured his family.
Archie was born in Ballinger on Sept. 13, 1924 to Leon and Jewell Thomas. He graduated from Ballinger High School and then went on to serve his country in WWII as a radio operator/waist gunner in the South Pacific on a B24 bomber. He married the love of his life, Bertha Marie Holland on Aug.s 3, 1946 in Ballinger and soon moved to Brownwood. With his brother-in-law, James Holland, he co-owned the Lyric Theater in downtown Brownwood from 1953-58. He worked for the Texas Highway Department in Brownwood for 37 years, retiring in 1987. While living in Brownwood, he enjoyed farming, ranching, boating and fishing on Lake Brownwood, and watching Texas Rangers baseball. After the death of Bertha in 2010, he moved to Grand Prairie to be closer to his children and made many new friends at his retirement center. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
Archie was preceded in death by his parents, Leon and Jewell Thomas; his wife, Bertha Thomas; brothers, Billy Jack Thomas and Alvin Thomas; sister Betty Jo Thomas; nephew, Greg Thomas; brother-in-law, Kenneth Burke; and sister-in-law, Polly Thomas.
He is survived by his son, Kenneth Thomas and wife Cindy of Grand Prairie; his daughter, Sandra Smith and husband Jim of Justin; grandchildren, Josh Thomas and wife April of Grand Prairie, Emily Edelhauser and husband Cody of Belton, Jordan Smith and wife Stephanie of Tuttle Oklahoma, Brandon Smith and wife Ashley of Justin; and his seven great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Dorothy Burke of Allen; sister, Frances Shiller and husband of Leroy of Richardson; brother, Walter Thomas and wife Diane of Alpine; and several nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Arlington Memorial Hospital Veteran’s Final Salute Program.