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Lonnie Dean "Dean" Thomas '63 July 27, 2022 3:34 PM updated: July 27, 2022 3:53 PM

Lonnie Dean Thomas
January 28, 1938 - July 18, 2022

L. Dean Thomas peacefully landed in the loving arms of his creator on July 18, 2022, signing off on a life that he described as a “good run.” Dean’s only regret was that he stopped one badge short of becoming an Eagle Scout. Dean would go on to serve his country with distinction as a jumpmaster parachutist in the 82nd Airborne Division, earn a degree in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M, and launched several successful businesses.

Born on January 28, 1938, in Bryan, Texas, Dean was the son of the late Robert Thomas and Vivian Martin and big brother to Bobby and Martha Ann. As a child he delivered papers for the Bryan Daily Eagle on his bicycle until he could afford a motor scooter. Dean gave up Boy Scout Troop 383 and his paper route to get a “real job” at the neighborhood grocery store so he could buy his first car at 16. Dean loved automobiles and would take Bobby and Martha cruising in his latest beauty, which included a turquoise Oldsmobile convertible and a fire engine red MGB convertible.

As a senior in college, Dean met his beautiful bride Jean Ellington and married her May 30, 1964, at the First Methodist Church in Jean’s hometown of Lyford, TX. Jean was Dean’s soul mate, business partner, and co-pilot. Dean and Jean flew airplanes together, including flying competition aerobatics. They launched Technical Sales & Applications, Inc. in Orlando, FL in 1979 and Dean and Jean Realty in Liberty, SC in 1999, where Dean worked until his declining health forced him to retire in 2015.

Dean is well known in Liberty, SC, as a member of the Liberty Lions, volunteer at Cannon Memorial Hospital and Meals on Wheels, and as a volunteer pilot for Young Eagles, for which he flew 55 youngsters, many for their first airplane ride. During his retirement, Dean served as a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem.

Dean is pre-deceased by his parents and his nephew Scott Konecny. Survivors include his wife of 58 years Jean Ellington, his two daughters Colleen Thomas of Bethesday, MD, and Stacie Morales (Luis) of Ponte Vedra, FL, two grandchildren Jacob and Juliette Morales, his siblings Robert Thomas (Kate) and Martha Snodgrass (Jim), both of College Station, TX, niece Jennifer McDowell (Jamie) of Nashville, TN, and nephews Michael Thomas (Deana) of Houston, TX and Brian Konecny (Robin) of Bryan, TX.

A memorial service followed by a reception celebrating Dean’s life took place on Sunday, July 24, at 2 p.m., at Liberty United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Meals on Wheels Pickens County.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting Palmetto Cremation Service, Pickens, SC.


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