Former Kennett Rep. Thomason remembered at Capitol service

Friday, December 19, 2003

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Former state Rep. Larry Thomason of Kennett was remembered Thursday as a dedicated public servant, a man with a zest for living and a passion for fine coffee and great barbecue, but above all as a person who cared deeply about others.

"Larry was always bigger than life in his personal relationships, his sense of humor and his vision for what we could accomplish as people and what Missouri could be as a state," said Gov. Bob Holden.

Thomason, 55, died Dec. 11 in Jefferson City from a heart attack. He was buried Sunday in Kennett.

More than 200 of his friends and colleagues attended a memorial service held Thursday in the Capitol rotunda -- an uncommon tribute for a former lawmaker. Thomason's wife Diane and daughter Sarah also attended.

Impact through concern

Thomason, a Democrat, served parts of Dunklin, Butler, New Madrid and Stoddard counties in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1998. He was director of motor carrier services for the Missouri Department of Transportation at the time of his death.

Holden said Thomason's concern for others is still having an impact.

"Even in his passing, it is my understanding that Larry is continuing to help people as an organ donor," Holden said. "Seventy-five new people have now had their lives changed in a positive way by a man they'll never know. How lucky for all of us that we had the opportunity to get to know him.

"He is the epitome of what people are talking about when they refer to someone as a 'great guy.' He was our 'great guy.'"

Jackson native Chuck Miller, the chief of staff to state Treasurer Nancy Farmer, said Thomason took a sincere interest in the lives of everyone he met.

Miller told of the time he met Thomason at a restaurant they regularly visited. After Miller commented that their waitress was new, Thomason proceeded to talk in great detail about the young woman, her aspirations and what brought her to Jefferson City. When Miller asked how he knew so much about her, Thomason replied, "She took my drink order."

"Larry loved to listen," Miller said. "He loved to share in your dreams, your joys and your successes."

Jefferson City businessman Fred Brown, who was introduced as "Larry's favorite Republican," said Thomason had great pride in Kennett and its residents.

If you didn't know much about Kennett, after 10 minutes with Thomason you had a firm insight on everything from the character of the town to the color of the mayor's house, Brown said.

"Larry loved his hometown of Kennett, Missouri," Brown said. "He loved its people."

Although his passing has saddened those who knew him, Brown said Thomason's memory will continue to bring gladness.

"Whenever we think of Larry Thomason, I know a smile will come immediately to our faces," Brown said.

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