Rest in Peace: J. Richard Thomas, Sr. '43
It is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of J. Richard Thomas, Sr.
Gilman's current development efforts and successes are no doubt a result of the strong philanthropic foundation that Mr. Thomas laid so many years ago. Mr. Thomas championed the need for the role of charitable giving to the School. He and his wife, Mary McCormick Thomas, have supported annual giving at Gilman since its inception. Further, Mr. Thomas led The Challenge of Leadership Campaign, Gilman’s first capital campaign, raising $6 million for new construction and new endowment for faculty salaries and financial aid, which closed in 1972.
During Mr. Thomas’ term as Board president from 1980-85, the School raised $6 million through the Building Character Campaign. Mr. Thomas also chaired the 1997-1998 Centennial, a yearlong celebration that involved more than 300 volunteers producing a variety of events. In 1999, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, along with their adult children and their spouses, Paul and Mary Stuart Gillespie, Joan and Richard Thomas ‘72, Christine and Henry Thomas ‘76, and Sarah and William Thomas ‘81 supported the development conference room in memory of Mr. Thomas’ parents. In 2015, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas established the J. Richard and Mary McCormick Thomas Development Chair to support an exemplary Gilman faculty or staff member. A Lifetime Trustee, Mr. Thomas also helped lay the foundation for The Grasshopper Society and the current planned giving program.
President of the Board of Trustees Mark R. Fetting reflected, "Richard Thomas is among those few special people who served Gilman so well. Had it not been for Richard, Gilman would not be what it is today and will be in the future. His contributions to leadership, policy, and development are unsurpassed. Richard was a lifelong mentor to me and many others, and I am so thankful for his leadership and joyful friendship."