Carl Henry Thomas, Jr. of Kemp, passed away at his home Jan. 9, 2022 after a two year battle of pancreatic cancer.
Carl was born June 12, 1944 to Carl and Frances Thomas in Sulphur Springs. During his youth, he was an avid baseball player, often winning all-around titles. He was also known as the “fastest tricycle rider” on Shelly Street in Oak Cliff. Carl was often a “featured” guest rider of his Uncle Sam and Aunt Margie Davis at parades held at the Mesquite Rodeo, built on the Diamond D Ranch owned by the Davis family.
Carl served in the United States Marine Corps from 1961 to 1976 with two tours in the Vietnam Conflict as well as participation in the Cuban Crises.
During his time in the Corps, he received the Presidential Unit Citation Award, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Cuba), Vietnamese Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Service Medal with Two Bronze Stars, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Award, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Meritorious Service Award.
It was during his service in Vietnam that Carl met the love of his life, Susan Harmel, after responding to an article she posted in the Stars and Stripes. He and Susan were pen pals for six months, often exchanging photographs and personal interests. When they finally met, they dated for two weeks and were married Aug. 17, 1967 in Richardson.
Shortly after graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice from Abilene Christian University, Carl read an article in a local newspaper stating that the “Dallas County Sheriff’s Department needed a Marine at the Helm” and decided it was his calling.
After rigorous campaigning organized by his family, Carl was elected Sheriff of Dallas County in 1976. As a man with strong moral and religious convictions, he commenced a jail ministry where prisoners were often baptized and attended bible classes. A progressive Sheriff, he was the first in the nation to institute a jail classification system and computerized the entire department.
Utilizing his law enforcement and military background, Carl founded Thomas Protective Service, Inc. in 1981. Together, husband and wife grew the company to a competitive small business with a reputation of service excellence.
Carl enjoyed the simple things in life, often spending time raising cattle and riding horses. He truly loved his family and enjoyed watching all of his children and grandchildren participate in their extracurricular activities. In his later years, he would spend time on the golf course with various family members and friends. He has been an active member of the Landmark Church of Christ for the last fifteen years.
Carl was preceded in death by his parents, brother Bill Parish, wife Susan and son Carl Henry Thomas, III.
He is survived by daughters Wendy Thomas and Shari Welch Hildebrandt, grandsons Gary Welch, Michael Welch and Joshua Rhoades, granddaughters Ashley Rhoades and Lindsay Thomas, great-grandson Johnathon Welch, great-granddaughters Savannah Welch and Avery Welch, brother Larry Thomas, sisters Shirley McSpedden and Betty Brown, as well as numerous nephews and nieces.
His kindness and generosity will be remembered by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022 at Landmark Church of Christ. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 at Landmark Church of Christ and interment will follow at Roselawn Memorial Gardens in Seagoville. Arrangements were under the direction of Parker-Ashworth Funeral Home.