|Thomas outside Dunkin' Donuts in 2008.|
Photo by the author.
Thomas's friend, civic activist Cary Lamari, reported the news on Facebook last night. Lamari says he asked people if anyone had heard from him since he hadn't posted in several weeks, and filed a missing persons report. Montgomery County police conducted a distress call and found Thomas Sunday night. He was not married, and did not have any children.
From Cary's Facebook page:
Thomas was liked by many people on Facebook and in the Aspen Hill Community, He attended Robert Perry High school and has been a staple in County political discussion for many years. You could always find Thomas at meeting in the Aspen Hill Civic Association meetings and he had a wonderful historical memory of past events and developments in our Community...Thomas was a good and Moral person and will be missed.Thomas was a big part of the JUTP community as well. Back in the early days of the blog, Thomas was a frequent commenter and a longtime friend of the blog, eagerly offering his thoughts over coffee at Dunkin' Donuts (and it was always Dunkin' Donuts).
From 1980s punk rock to obscure science fiction to Linux to the arcana of Montgomery County, Thomas always had a good anecdote to share and an eagerness to find solutions. According to his personal website, he received a patent in 2008 for an "invention in the field of computing and dataprocessing."
When Montgomery County Councilmember Marilyn Praisner passed away in 2008, Thomas ran in the Republican primary in the special election to fill her seat. He lost the primary, and Marilyn's husband Don Praisner ultimately won. When he passed away the following year, Thomas ran again and lost. "I was the most unpopular Republican in Montgomery County and I took that as a clue," he joked in a 2009 interview.
In recent years, Thomas moderated a wiki page about Aspen Hill, and several Facebook pages about Montgomery County history and news. He strongly believed in the power of the Internet to share ideas, and did not suffer fools. “I know I can be a little trollish,” he told me, again in 2009. “I don't want to come off as annoying as Robin Ficker, but I think that would take a God-given gift I don't possess. I try to be thoroughly knowledgable and a little annoying. If I were young it would come off as 'edgy,' but at my age, I guess it seems curmudgeonly.”
To be honest, I don't know much about Thomas after that. He moved to West Virginia, then returned to the county, but by then we fell out of touch. I'll always remember him as someone who wasn't afraid to speak his mind and encouraged me to do the same.
I'll update this space with any information about funeral arrangements. In the meantime, I'll be keeping him and his family in my thoughts.