March 10, 1922 - July 24, 2015
Dr. William Ralph Thomas, born in Newcastle, Texas, on March 10, 1922, passed away suddenly, unexpectedly, but peacefully, in Dallas on July 24, 2015. He was 93.
Dr. Thomas was raised by his parents, Jack and Lelia Thomas, in Graham, Texas. As a surgeon, he healed countless and set a high standard for medical care in Hale County; as a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he was the bedrock of his family and established a legacy that will last into perpetuity.
His body may no longer be present on this Earth, but his legacy and his impact, his love and his compassion, will forever be felt; his soul remains amongst those who experienced his life.
Ralph, as he was affectionately known, enrolled at Texas A&M University in 1940, but volunteered for service in the United States Navy in 1942. He served as a Hospital Corpsman for two years in the South Pacific and was then sent to the University of Texas for officer training. It was at the University of Texas where he met Lillie Grace Odom, his wife of 68 years. Together, they transferred to and graduated from Southern Methodist University. Dr. Thomas remained loyal, however, to his original alma mater. He was a lifelong Aggie.
Dr. Thomas received his medical degree from Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas in 1953. He completed his internship at St. Louis City Hospital and his surgical residency at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas. The Thomas family moved to Plainview in 1957 where Dr. Thomas began his surgical practice at The Medical Center Clinic. He was instrumental in the creation and construction of Central Plains Regional Hospital, now Covenant Hospital Plainview. He served as the hospital’s Chief of Staff. After residing in Plainview for fifty-one years and practicing medicine for forty-five years, Dr. Thomas and his wife moved to Dallas in 2008.
Dr. Thomas’ soul lives on through his wife, Lillie; their children, Dr. Robert Thomas and wife Carla of Dallas, Debbie Fitch and husband Timothy of Beeville, Penny Lloyd and husband B.J. of Horseshoe Bay, and Angela Haney and husband Kurt of Dallas; his grandchildren, Zach Thomas and wife Sarah, Misty Fitch Davis and husband Nathan, Kasey Fitch Hunter and husband Todd, Mason Fitch, Chad Lloyd and wife Brooke, Nesi Lloyd, Melissa Lloyd, Charlie Denton, Lexi Freeman, and Victoria Freeman; and his great-grandchildren, Noah Davis, Lillie Davis, and Parker Lloyd.
He is preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Aurelia Dildy and Betty Blount.
Dr. Thomas was a man of unique character and extraordinary love. He will be missed, but his love will always be felt, remembered, and passed on.
A private family funeral will be held and ashes will be spread on a favorite mountain near Possum Kingdom Lake.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Parkland Foundation, Texas A&M University, The American Heart Association, or The American Cancer Society.
Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252