George Brinton Thomas III

October 27, 1945June 17, 2011

George Brinton Thomas III of Harker Heights, Texas, died on Friday, June 17, 2011, in a bicycling accident. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church on Friday, June 24, 2011 at 10:30am with Father Ciaran McCarthaigh MSC as celebrant. Burial will follow with military honors at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

He was born on October 27, 1945, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of George Brinton Thomas, Jr., and Jean Russell Thomas, the grandson of George Brinton Thomas, Sr., and Mary Eliza Wright Thomas of Millburn, New Jersey, and of Benjamin Franklin Russell and Emeline Smith Russell of Great Neck, New York.

He grew up in Summit, New Jersey, graduating from Summit High School in 1964, where he was a member of the German club, played on the soccer team, and participated in track. He was active in Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Life Scout. He won several regional awards for Native American crafts and dance, and distinguished himself with his knowledge of American Indian history.

He attended the University of Arizona and earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1968 and a Masters of Arts in anthropology in 1970. Shortly after graduation he joined an archeological team excavating pre-Columbian ruins in Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico, where he was active for several years.

He enlisted in the United States Army and was trained in aerial reconnaissance at Fort Hood, Texas. During his spare time during military service, he re-activated the archeological club of Fort Hood. He was able to apply his expertise in interpreting aerial photographs to determine from the features of a landscape if a site would be likely to be worthy of archeological exploration. His published findings attracted professional attention in the field. He was a frequent contributor to the Fort Hood Sentinel.

A lifelong athlete, George was an accomplished long-distance runner. In mid-life, he took up bicycling, soon performing at a competitive level. As an unknown novice, he placed highly in the first bicycle race he ever entered, to the surprise of many, and was quickly recruited into a respected cycling club.

After his stint in the military ended, he joined the Civil Service, serving in various capacities throughout the length of his career. During one assignment in Heidelberg, Germany, he took advantage of his knowledge and love of the German language to connect with German bicycling enthusiasts and to explore the European countryside.

After retirement from the Civil Service, he again was able to participate in several archeological field expeditions, published in the bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society, and taught college-level archeology and anthropology in the educational programs of the Texas penitentiary system.

He is survived by his wife, Frances M. Thomas, children: Monique Mendoza, Talmage Mendoza, James Mendoza and Russell Mendoza, his brother, Franklin Russell Thomas, and a sister-in-law, Sandra Freed Thomas, of Greenfield, Massachusetts, his sister, Mary Elizabeth Thomas, of Wendell, Massachusetts, his nephew, Scott Russell Thomas, of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and his niece, Kimberly Freed (Thomas) Hake, of Greenfield, Massachusetts.

George is remembered very fondly for his intelligence, kindness, thoughtfulness, sincerity, and, notoriously, for his remarkable and unique sense of humor. He modestly referred to his highest academic attainment as “P. H. D.,” standing for “post-hole digger.” He could find colorful, unexpected, and entertaining words to describe everyday events. In words and actions, he always took the scenic route, and that still holds true, now more than ever.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, June 23, 2011 from 6-8pm at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home and a Rosary will be recited at 7pm.

You may share condolences with the Thomas family online at

Arrangements under the direction of Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home, Killeen, TX.


  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, June 24, 2011

George Brinton Thomas III

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Marco Morales

September 26, 2011

I worked with George when he was the editor of the Fort Hood Sentinel back in 1991. It didn't take me long to figure out that he was not only one of the most intelligent persons I've ever met but also one of the wittiest. George brought a distinct and genuine air of refreshing perspectives very few human beings are capable of achieving. His brand of British humor always added introspective rhetoric which made the reader of his input think about his unique angles. He kept himself physically and mentally fit by jumping into life head on -- without fear or regrets and always with a positive attitude. We all learned from his unselfish and benevolent contributions.

Rey Dominguez, Jr

September 22, 2011

George, it was a distinct honor to have been included in your circle of "debate buddies". Your intellect and humor will be missed. I raise a Shiner Bock in your honor. May our Lord, God of hosts welcome you into his loving embrace. May God bless and keep watch over your family.

September 15, 2011

Ms. Thomas & family, I just want to briefly note that George, whom I never personally met, but rather corresponded with via a political discussion group, was a wonderful contributor to our thoughts and considerations regarding many topics. His wit often helped us get over the cider that sometimes blocked our vision on some issues, and helped us dig a bit deeper in our perspectives - he will be, and surely is already, sorely missed by all. I was looking forward to meeting him here in Europe - a trip that he noted he was planning. I pray along with all of those who read this that he may rest in peace.
I feel similarly to Janie Zapata and extend you my deepest condolences as your lives move on with his spirit beside you.

All the best,

Dick Holliday
Tübingen Germany

Lewis Bernstein

September 15, 2011

I never met George. I only knew him through e-mail correspondence. He was humorous, witty, and had a very dry wit. We hit it off without meeting and now I shall never have that pleasure. He always gave me the impression that he enjoyed life and that it gave him much amusement. I shall miss him - the world is a poorer place without him. May you find the strength you need at this time.

July 5, 2011

Frances please except our sincere condolences on the passing of your husband, George. We are sorry we didn't make it to the services but you were in our thoughts. When Lupe told us what had happened we couldn't believe it. Goes to show you just never know when our Lord will call on anyone of us. May God bless you and your family and be with you espectially at this time of your loss.

Love, Janie Zapata

June 30, 2011

I met George when I worked in the Environmental Office at Fort Hood. He was a good friend to me. He was kind & thoughtful, always with a big smile. I enjoyed his unique sense of humor. I am sorry that when I got transferred to another job, that I lost touch with him. My prayers & thoughts are with his family. I know he will be missed by all. Kathy Spear, Copperas Cove, Tx.

Jason Lewis

June 25, 2011

I worked with Mr. Thomas at the San Saba Unit and got to know him pretty good. I loved his sense of humor and he always had a smile on his face. He seemed to live life to the fullest. He will be sorely missed and may GOD bless him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family.

June 24, 2011

What a funny, inspiring person George was to many in the Southwind Runners Club and in the cycling community. His sense of humor, positive attitude and big smile will be missed. May the Thomas family know that you were all a big part of his well-lived life.

Colleen Isdale, Belton, Texas

Charles White

June 24, 2011

Mr. Thomas was a joyful part of each day that he come to the San Saba Unit. He was a true "Free Spirit" with a breadth of knowledge. Those of us who worked with him and learned from him were truly blessed!

Art and Rose (Moreno) Bernal

June 23, 2011

Our deepest condolences, our love and God's peace to you Frances and to your family.