Tustin News, Volume 62, Number 14, 16 February 1984
Former Man of Year, Eugene Thomas Dies Eugene Ross Thomas of North Tustin, former president of the Tustin Board of Education and Tustin area Man of the Year, died Feb. 6 after a brief illness. He was 81.
Born May 24, 1902, at the family ranch located on South Grand Avenue where his parents settled in 1888, he attended Delhi School and was a member of the Santa Ana High School Class of 1921.
He was owner of the Irvine Blacksmith Shop for 50 years, retiring in 1980. His involvement in community affairs included charter membership in the Tustin Lions Club, serving as chairman of the Mothers’ Day Breaklast for 17 years. He was president In 1967-68 and was voted Lion of the Year in 1968-69 and 1975-76. He received his Life Membership in 1983. An active sportsman, he rode horses in the Tournament of Roses Parade, acting as marshal of a division for 36 years. Other memberships included the Los Flojos Camp of Rancheros Vistadores, the El Rodeo Riding Club, Val Verde Club, the Southern California Skeet Association, National Skeet Association and the California Indians. He served as a member of the 4th District Fish and Game Commission in 1970. He was also an interested member of the Tustin Historical Soceity. Mr. Thomas was a 45-year member of the Santa Ana Elks Lodge 794, past president of the Tustin school board which he served 10 years in the 1940s, and captain of the Sheriff’s Mounted Reserve from 1941 to 1965. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Irene, of the home; his daughters, Shirley Grow of Orange and Barbara McCalla of Santa Ana; his sisters, Lela Deardorff and Gladys Thomas, both of Santa Ana, and Semone Otto of Riverside; five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and five nieces and nephews. Dr. Howard Jamieson officiated services Friday at Waverly Church at Fairhaven Memorial Park. Interment was at Fairhaven. Arrangements were handled by Fairhaver. Mortuary.