Herbert Gale Thomas, Jr., 84, of Bella Vista, passed from this life April 7, 2018, at Circle of Life, Bentonville, Ark. He was born May 17, 1933, in Miami, Okla., to Irene England and Herbert G. Thomas, Sr. After several moves the family settled in South Chicago, Ill., and then near Gary, Ind., where Herb graduated from William Wirt High School. Two days after graduation Herbert began work at United States Steel Corporation. Eighteen months later Herb joined the US Air Force during the Korean Conflict where he served four years in the Mariana Islands, Cape Cod Massachusetts, and other locations. Ending military service in 1956, Herb enrolled in Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana, where he earned a BBA in Industrial Engineering. In addition to the GI Bill, he worked setting up circus tents, selling frozen custard, teaching Driver’s Education, working in the college book store, and setting up bowling pins prior automatic pin setters. Following college Herb began his 30+ year career with United States Steel in Gary and moved to Texas in 1949 for the start-up of the Texas Works Plant. Five days after retirement from US Steel, Herb began a 16-year career with the City of Baytown (Texas) and retired in 2000 as Manager of the Bay Area Water Authority and as Assistant City Manager.
Herb was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Don Thomas, his sister Renee Reynolds, and Mary Furnish Thomas, the mother of his children.
Herbert is survived by his wife of 28 years, Barbara (Babs) Bettell Thomas, his daughter Elizabeth G. Schweers and husband John of Pearland, Texas, son John F. Thomas and wife Stefanie of Beach City, Texas, grandsons Jace Aaron and Caleb Patrick Thomas of Beach City, stepchildren Shawn Fricker and family and Rick King of Houston.
Herbert was proud of his military career and of his professional life. In Texas, he served on Boards of Baytown Medical Center, Baytown YMCA, and United Way Allocations. In Arkansas, he served on POA Board of Directors and on the Veterans Council of NWA (Wall of Honor).
Herbert loved classical music and began to enjoy Country Western after marrying his Texas bride. He was an avid reader and enjoyed discussing his reading. He was at his happiest when planning trips and traveled extensively. He enjoyed teasing his grandsons and had a special love for his little dog Lucy.
Herbert was a generous man and will be missed greatly by family and friends. At Herb’s request, there will be no memorial service.
Memorials may be made to the Veterans Council of NWA, PO Box, 3085, Bella Vista, AR 72715, Highland Christian Church, 1500 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista, AR 72715 or Circle of Life Hospice, Legacy Village, 1201 NE Legacy Parkway, Bentonville, AR 72712.
Arrangements are by Bella Vista Funeral Home & Crematory. On-line condolences may be made at www.funeralmation.com.