Cecil Temple Thomas, Jr.
1922 - 2014
It is with great sadness that the Thomas family announces the passing of Cecil Temple Thomas, Jr., at the age of 92, in Palo Alto on December 23, 2014. Known as “Papa” to some, and “CT” or “Oso” to others, he will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Oso was born at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara on June 7, 1922 to Gladys and Cecil Thomas, and grew up on the family ranch in Carpinteria. He graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1941 and attended the University of California, Berkeley where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity. His college career was interrupted by 4 years of US Army service, during which time he was stationed at the San Francisco Presidio. After being honorably discharged from the Army at the end of WWII, he continued his college career at UC Berkeley where he was the Student Manager of the Golden Bears Football team. It was at Berkeley that he earned his nickname “Oso”.
After graduating from Berkeley in 1950, Oso went to work in the San Francisco Bay Area and started his long and very successful career as a stock broker with Irving Lundborg, Kidder Peabody and Paine Webber. Oso met the love of his life, Sue, at a Halloween party in downtown San Francisco in the late 1950s. Oso and Sue married in Carmel in 1959 and settled in Portola Valley, where they raised their children Brad and Julie and where Oso lived until his passing.
Over the years, Oso was an active member of a number of charities and community service organizations, including Chi Phi Fraternity, Rotary Club, Alpine Little League, The Atherlons, and Sons in Retirement.
Oso was well known to all of his family and friends as extremely gentle, kind, loving, caring, funny, perpetually optimistic (to a fault), and passionate. His lifelong passions were led by the love he had for his family, friends and neighbors, followed closely by his passions for Cal Bears Football (missing only 6 home games over 60+ years), Napa Cabernet, world traveling, tennis, skiing, photography, fruit growing, and chocolate in almost any form. Other than a few opposing college football coaches and politicians, Oso never had an unkind or harsh word to say about anyone.
Oso also had an amazing memory for facts and statistics of all kinds, and was well known for turning the subject of the most mundane conversation into an interesting story about a Cal football player, a tasty wine or a memorable tennis match. His optimistic spirit, broad smile, deep laughter, warm hugs, bushy eyebrows, bald head and clever sense of humor will survive in the hearts of all his family and friends.
Oso is survived by his wife of 55 years, Suzette Thomas; son Brad and wife Krissy of Santa Barbara; daughter Julie and husband Steve San Filippo of San Carlos; sister Jacquelyn Law of Honolulu; nephew Robert Law of Sonora; nieces Cecily Woods of Newport Beach and Kathy Czar of Maui; and grandchildren Patrick and Charlotte Thomas and Marisa, Dominic and Joseph San Filippo.
Should friends and family desire, memorial contributions may be made in Oso’s name to Cal Football through the Cal Athletic Development office (Bear Backers). Checks should be made to “UC Regents”, with Cal Football on the memo line, and mailed to 195 Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA 94720.
Arrangements are in the care of Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels in Santa Barbara.