Eric Thomas (Class of 1962)
1944 - 2021
Eric was born on May 20 1944 and spent the remaining war years in Yorkshire with his mother, after which the family settled in Enfield. He attended the George Spicer primary school and started piano lessons at a young age, gaining a place at the Junior Royal Academy of Music at the age of 11. Later he attained his LRAM.
In 1955, he gained entry into the City of London School and entered form N2A where he excelled at mathematics. He enjoyed games - cricket, where he captained the 3rd X1, Eton fives for the A team and many others. He carried on his love of music in school singing in their choir, joining choristers from the Chapel Choir and the Temple. He started to learn the clarinet at the Guildhall School of Music which was just across the road from the school and then joined the school orchestra. During his last year, he started to play the organ. Another enjoyment was the CCF - Royal Army Service Corps, which he carried forward into his university undergraduate days.
Eric won an Exhibition to study Mathematics at Jesus College Cambridge and obtained a 1st class honours degree in 1965. The following year he gained distinction in the Diploma of Computer Science. His life as an undergraduate was taken up with music and his love of the army.
Eric met his wife, Judy during his final degree year. They were married in Cambridge in September 1967 and settled in Grove, Wantage, Oxfordshire.
In 1966, Eric started work at the Atlas laboratory, Chilton which later merged with the Rutherford Laboratory. He stayed there all his working life, working on numerous projects - the operating system for Sigma2, graphics, and office automation to name a few.
Sport took up a lot of his time. He played rounders and cricket for local teams but his great love was table tennis. He started playing in the Didcot and District Table Tennis Association for Atlas in around 1970 and continued until recently. He obtained a qualification as a County Umpire for the English Table Tennis Association and was the DDTTA Closed Championship official umpire for many years.
In 1971 his son was born followed by a daughter in 1974. Eric was a great family man and was overjoyed when later, both his granddaughters were born.
Eric was a committed Christian and had a long association with Grove Methodist Church. He was the Church treasurer for many years, the last stint being 25, overseeing 2 major Church extensions. He was also the Church organist.
Ill health dogged him for the latter part of his life. He had a major heart attack in 1998 needing a triple heart bypass from which he recovered to lead a full and active live again. In 2020 he was diagnosed with oral cancer and had a successful operation to remove it, but it sadly returned and he died on May 14 2021.