Thursday, November 14, 2013


News of Yore: Richard W. Thomas Dies

Brooklyn Eagle
June 25, 1940

Richard W. Thomas Dies; Ex-Reporter, Columnist

Richard Webster Thomas, former reporter and columnist of the Brooklyn Eagle and a candidate for Congress and the State Senate in the downtown area in 1932 and 1934, respectively, died of a heart attack yesterday in his home at 163 E. 81st St., Manhattan.

Born 33 years ago in Manhattan, Mr. Thomas was active in newspaper work in Brooklyn for about ten years, remaining “in harness” during the vigorous campaigns he waged to put political theories formed as a newsgatherer to active use in legislative chambers.

He was educated at the Collegiate School and Rutgers University and was employed by the Standard News Association and the old Brooklyn Standard Union before joining the Eagle staff and launching a busy career in all phases of reportorial endeavor.

A keen student of penology, his views on courtroom procedure were frequently aired in special articles written for the Eagle, and he later became intimately known to this newspaper's readers by conducting a column under the title “By the Way.”

’Stranger Than Fiction’

In addition to his regular duties Mr. Thomas found time to delve deeply into the odd and interesting, a hobby that led to his collaboration for several years with Walter Galli of the Eagle art department in the syndicated feature “Stranger Than Fiction.”

A stickler for factual reporting, he insisted on substantiating to the last degree the unusual customs and events he unearthed, frequently passing up “real gems" because of inability to establish their proof beyond all quibble or doubt.

On entering the 1932 election campaign as the Republican opponent of Representative John J. Delaney, Mr. Thomas waged a forthright, hard-hitting fight based on a strong anti-Tammany stand and a denunciation of the 18th Amendment.

Although swamped in the landslide for Franklin D. Roosevelt, the then 25-year-old campaigner, the youngest in the country during that election, made an excellent showing in the Heights area, carrying ten election districts.

Before accepting the G.O.P. nomination for State Senator in 1934, to which was added the support of the Fusion, Liberal and Recovery parties, Mr. Thomas published the Brooklyner, a monthly magazine that flourished for about a year.

He was married on March 13, 1933, to Betty Stuart Peck of Brooklyn and Belle Terre, daughter of Mrs. Bayard Livingston Peck and a descendant of Philip Livingston, signer, of the Declaration of Independence. They were divorced on Oct. 8, 1935.

Formerly active in the Golf and Country Club of Belle Terre, Zeta Psi fraternity and the old Crescent Athletic Club, Mr. Thomas is survived by his mother, now the widow of the Rev. Dr. David G. Wylie, former president of the Lord's Day Alliance, and a half-sister, Mrs. A. Thornton Baker. His father, Richard Henry Thomas, a engineer, died in 1911.


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