PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Obituaries

March 26, 2014

Judge Thomas A. Thomas

PORT ARTHUR —    Judge Thomas A. Thomas, 86 of Port Arthur passed away on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas. Judge Thomas was born on February 25, 1928 in Port Arthur to Apostolos and Vasso Menis Thomas. Judge Thomas was proud of his parents Vasso and Apostolos and of his Greek heritage.

   He was the first District Judge of Greek descent in the State of Texas. Judge Thomas was devoted to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church and served as President and Board member for many years.

   Judge Thomas became one of the first full time mediators in Jefferson County when he joined the Umphrey firm. He was proud of the widespread adoption by the courts and attorneys of the mediation practice he helped pioneer.” What Judge Thomas wouldn’t say but what every trial attorney of that era would tell you is the credibility his impeccable reputation for fairness brought to the “New Process”.

   Judge Thomas graduated from UT undergraduate and UT law school where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He returned home to Jefferson County as a state prosecutor in D.A. Ramie Griffith. He was in private practice until 1966. In 1969, Texas Governor Preston Smith appointed him Judge for the newly created 172nd Judicial District. Judge Thomas served in that capacity for twenty years until he retired, whereupon he joined the Provost-Umphrey Law Firm as an attorney and mediator in November of 1989.

   He was known as a fair minded judge who never favored one side or the other. “My goal as a judge was very simple: I wanted both sides to get a fair trial”. Many lawyers will recall he hated wasting time, his own or the jury.

  He would halt the proceedings to have private conversations with a lawyer. “I didn’t hesitate to stop a trial and confer with the attorneys if I thought it was necessary to keep them focused on the presentation and issues. Judge MeHaffy recounted when Judge Thomas pointed at you with his one finger you better listen, because when he pointed at you with two fingers you were already in big trouble. Another lawyer recalled, ”after a zero verdict, I remember him being encouraging and supportive, but he coupled that with suggestion about what I should have but had not done. While Judge Thomas did not speak down to you, you looked up to him. He was direct, professional, and made clear what one should do next time, and nobody wanted to disappoint him.

   Judge Thomas is survived by his wife Judy Thomas, sister, Fannie Thomas. Also, cousins Katherine Kaffoglor, Thomas and Joyce Loukas, Luke and Sophie Loukas, Nick and Thalia Athens, Spiro Thomas, Angela and Steve Caloudas and numerous other cousins.

   Visitation will be on Friday, March 28, 2014 from 5:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. with a Trisagion Service at 6:00 P.M. at Clayton Thompson Funeral Home.       Funeral service will be on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 10:30 A.M. at St. George Greek Orthodox Church at 3148 Thomas Blvd., Port Arthur, Texas with Rev.Fr. Stelios Sitaras, Rev. Fr. David Eckley and Chanter Kosta Selinidis officiating. Burial will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park with Dr. Ronald Amuny, James Bellos, Steve Caloudas, Jr., Dr. Bernard Friedman, Gary Friedman, Kip Glasscock. Randy Graffagnino, Peter Loukas and Spiro Thomas serving as Pallbearers, with Judge Leonard Gibblin, Judge Thad Heartfield, George Kostas, Dr. Thomas Lombardo, Judge James McHaffy, Dr. Martin Haig, Mike Rezmerski ,Walter Umphrey, Charles V. “Junior” Hanson serving as honorary pallbearers.

    A special Thank You to Dora Breaux (Cousin) for her kindness and help during this difficult time. The Family also thanks the staff of Provost Umphrey Law Firm, Judge Thomas’ physicians and his caregivers, Renda, Larklynn, Doris, Rhonda, Isis and Angel.

    In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church,  3148 Thomas Blvd., Port Arthur, Texas,77642.

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