David E. Thomas, 82, former dean of students, former director of college placement, George Shattuck Morison Professor of Latin, and Chair and Instructor of Classical Languages, Emeritus at Phillips Exeter Academy died on December 2, 2012 at his home in Newmarket, NH.
Mr. Thomas came to the Academy's Classics department in 1957 and served the school with distinction until his retirement in 1996. During his 39 years of service to the Academy, he touched the lives of countless students and modeled the highest standards of teaching and leadership for his fellow instructors. He was an honorary member of the classes of 1962 and 1969.
In 2000 Mr. Thomas was honored with the Academy's Founders Day Award which was established to "recognize exceptional service to the Academy beyond what is regularly contributed by others doing similar service" The citation for that award read in part, "Your enduring example begins with devotion to the classroom. Generations of students can testify to your passion for the discipline and beauty of classical languages and culture, and to the love of learning you sought to instill."
Mr Thomas also earned the George S. Heyer, Jr. '48 Teaching Fund Award, given in recognition of the highest intellectual merit, devoted service, and lengthy tenure and the Rupert Radford Faculty Fellowship Award which recognizes faculty and administrative personnel for distinguished and faithful service.
Out of the classroom Mr. Thomas was an enthusiastic and devoted coach of the squash and tennis teams. For 16 years, with his wife, Jacquelyn H. Thomas, he provided a supportive and caring environment in the dorms in which they lived and raised their family, Wheelwright, Amen and Ewald Halls as well as Gilman House. All three of his daughters attended the Academy; Lesley '78, Courtenay '79, and Hilary '81.
Mr, Thomas was born in Middletown, PA. He earned his B.A. degree in Classics from Gettysburg College in 1952 and a M.A. in Classics from the University of Pittsburg in 1954. Mr. Thomas had a life-long love of music and the arts. His intrigue with not only classical languages but other cultures led to travels with his wife across Europe, the Middle East, and China in his later years. Although his children eventually made homes far away from New England, he and his wife kept them close, spending many a memorable family vacation in idyllic settings, exploring new places, enjoying good food and playing a mean game of hearts. Mr. Thomas had a wonderful, wry sense of humor, and was often heard to remind others: "Carpe diem," seize the day.
A devoted husband, father and grandfather he leaves his wife Jacquelyn , his children Lesley J. Langelaar-Thomas (Frederick J. Langelaar), Courtenay Thomas (Neil Lundy), Hilary Thomas (Paul Grabau), and his grandchildren Alexander D. Langelaar, Jacqueline H.A. Langelaar, Eric Lundy, Benjamin Grabau and Christian Grabau.
A memorial service honoring Mr. Thomas will take place on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. in Phillips Exeter Academy's Phillips Church on Tan Lane in Exeter. Brewitt Funeral Home, 14 Pine St., Exeter, NH is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Memorial gifts honoring Mr. Thomas may be made to the David E. Thomas Memorial Fund at Phillips Exeter Academy, Attention: Bonnie Weeks, 20 Main St. Exeter, NH.