Cover photo for Richard Francis Thomas's Obituary
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1926 Richard 2018

Richard Francis Thomas

July 19, 1926 — April 7, 2018

As we walked side-by-side, schlepping our bags out to our drives and enjoying the last of the 18 on a gorgeous spring day, he suddenly exclaimed, "Im glad Im rich."
"Yeah Dad," I replied, "I knowyoure as Rich as am I but Im Richard Jr."
"No, thats not what I mean. I am truly rich."
I stopped walking, set my bag down, and turned to him. "Whoa, what are you talking about? Tell me you have a pot of gold hidden somewhere and youve been hiding it all these years. Has my ship come in?"
"No, he said. Im rich because I feel great -- just look at what God has given me. I have your mom and all five of you kids and grandkids and these golf clubs. And chances are, the sun will come up again tomorrow for another tee-time and Ill get to enjoy my golf and my family again and again, thank you God. Oh yeah, and if you havent already forgotten, I closed you out back on 16 and you owe me a dollar."
Ive laughed and cried remembering and replaying that story in my mind. It s proof that my (our) dad was one of the most successful men Ive ever encountered. He was satisfied, and happy, with what hed accomplished in life. His scorecard is as simple as it is powerful: he loved and he was loved. He was a decent and principled man. We can all attest.
Richard Francis Thomas was born July 19, 1926 in Kansas City, Kansas to Gertrude and John Thomas. He was the fourth of a brood of seven -- five boys and two girls -- who were subsequently orphaned in 1929, with the death of their mother. The children were parceled out across the metro to relatives, group homes, orphanages, and farms. After a nomadic childhood and lastly, in the care of a kindly aunt, Richard discovered and then traveled by bus to Omaha where he was accepted at Father Flanagans Boys Town. Later, he was also able to bring his younger twin brothers, Dean and Gene, to join him there.
Richard blossomed at Boys Town. He was privileged to be a resident and student/athlete there under the guidance of Father Edward Flanagan and his small staff, as they were building a unique, transformational institution for homeless boys from every corner of the country.
A star athlete in 3 sports, Richard received national honors as a high school quarterback on the traveling Boys Town squad that played before thousands in major stadiums from New York to San Francisco. His baseball prowess earned him tryouts with the Cardinals and Phillies baseball organizations. After graduation from Boys Town High School, and with football scholarship offers from Iowa and Drake Universities, and St. Benedicts, he attended St. Benedicts, and played football before returning home to Kansas City.
He married Mary Louise Witcher, a beautiful KC-girl before he left for Korea, and on his return they raised a family of five: Melinda Roberts (Michael); Richard Jr.(Cathie); Tracy Mendenhall (Jim), Timothy (Tracie), and Kiely Tanner (Dan).
Nine grandchildren, Lauren, Ryan, Brad, Molly, Trey, Mandy, Spenser, Quinn, and Micah were their Grandpas highlight reels. And now six great-grandchildren, Cole, Niamh, Fletcher, Kate, Mairead, and Annie, have joined his all-star team.
We would like to thank the administration and the entire staff of the John Knox Village Care Center and Hospice for their skilled nursing assistance, and excellent, compassionate care the last two years.
We suggest contributions to boystown.org, but no flowers. A visitation will be held at 10am on Thursday, April 12, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 11802 Holmes, KCMO, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11am.
Visitation St. Thomas More Church

Thursday, April 12, 2018

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

11822 Holmes RoadKansas City, MO 64131
Directions Mass of Christian Burial St. Thomas More Church

Thursday, April 12, 2018

11:00 AM

11822 Holmes RoadKansas City, MO 64131
Directions

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