William G. Thomas Memorial Site






12/31/1929 - 09/22/1988



Biography

 

William Granville (Bill) Thomas was born on December 31, 1929 in Grand Rapids, MI. He was the son of bandleader Burl (Tommy) Thomas and Helen Thomas. The family moved to Oberlin, OH when he was a child and he was educated in the Oberlin school system. After graduation from Oberlin High School in 1947, he briefly attended West Virginia State University.

He then moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career. While in California, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in Germany. After receiving a honorable discharge, he moved to Cleveland, OH and appeared in several productions at the renown Karamu House Theater. He met Christine Toles at Karamu and they were married in 1955. The couple had two children, Antony Ross and William Lawrence.

Bill attended John Carroll University at night while holding down a day job at Associated Industries and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English. His early career included positions as a Housing Inspector for the City of Cleveland, an appointment to a management position at the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services by then Ohio Governor, Mike DiSalle, and a management position at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland.

In the mid-60s, he accepted a position with the Department of the Navy in the area of Contacts Compliance. During the next fifteen years, he served as Chief of the Office of Federal Contacts Compliance for the Departments of Defense, Treasury and Labor. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the highest civilian award conveyed by the Department of Defense.

He remarried in 1971 and had a daughter, Therese Lourdes.

He relocated to the Los Angeles area in 1975 and assumed the position of Chief of Contracts Compliance for the Los Angeles region. In 1979, he graduated from Pepperdine University with a Master's Degree in Public Adminstration (MPA) In 1980, he left the Federal Government to work for Ameron Corporation. He held executive positions in the areas of Equal Employment Opportunity, Labor Relations and Public Relations. Bill was active in numerous organizations and served as President of LABEOL (Los Angeles Basin Equal Opportunity League) and The International Institute of Los Angeles. He also served as an instructor at UCLA Extension.

Shortly after leaving Ameron in 1985, Bill was diagnosed with lung cancer, a disease he fought bravely for almost three years. He served as an independent consultant for numerous corporations until his death in September of 1988. William G. Thomas was a loving and giving human being and his presence has been sorely missed.