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Retirees Association

Ritchie D. Thomas, University Librarian, May 24, 2016

Ritchie D. Thomas, age 85, born in Olympia, Washington, Jan. 26, 1931 died May 24, 2016.

            His parents were William J. Thomas and Helen G. Thomas, both preceding him in death. He attended schools in Olympia and graduated from Olympia High School, class of 1949. He attended Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon and Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received a Master's degree in Library Science from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in 1959. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

            He was employed as a Librarian with the New York Times, Washington, D.C. Bureau; City Librarian, Woodland Public Library, Woodland, California; College Librarian, Sacramento City College, Sacramento, California; University Librarian, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon; and University Librarian, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.

            He retired to Thurston County, Washington in 1992. He was a member of the Washington State Historical Society and the author and editor of several scholarly books and articles. He was an amateur deltiologist and collector of unusual and old objects. Over the years he painted many pictures. Being distrustful of organizations, he belonged to nothing.

            He was preceded in death by his wife, Grace M. Thomas of Thurston County. He is survived by his daughters, Kathryn A. Sanford, MD, Martha Thomas, Laura Thomas, all of Dayton, Ohio, one son, Andrew H. Thomas, Malaga, Spain and eight grandchildren, Jesse O., Zachary (Colby), Jeremy and Molly Sanford; Justin, Emily and Sarah Margaret Penix; and Elizabeth Kasser-Thomas, by all of whom he was much loved and appreciated. He passed down his belief in the value of Family to those who will love and remember him always.