In Memoriam: Kelly Thomas

KellyThomasKelly Thomas, a tuba professor in the School of Music, passed away unexpectedly Sunday night.

Visitation will be held 5:00-7:30 p.m. this Friday with the funeral immediately following at Clearwater Baptist Church, 964 County Road 180 in Athens, Tennessee. The burial will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday at the church.

Thomas was appointed tuba/euphonium instructor at UT in 2014.

“Even though Kelly was only with us for a short time, he made a huge impact on our school,” said Jeff Pappas, director of the School of Music. “He will be missed.”

Prior to his appointment at UT, Thomas was the tuba/euphonium professor at the University of Arizona for thirteen years. A native of Flagstaff, Arizona, he began his studies at Tennessee Technological University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music education. He earned a master’s degree in music education and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University.

Thomas performed at the International Tuba Euphonium Association conferences in Linz, Austria; Las Vegas, Nevada; Conway, Arkansas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Tucson, Arizona; and Regina, Saskatchewan.

He was a founding member and tubist for the Original Wildcat Jass Band, a traditional New Orleans and Chicago jazz band. The touring ensemble has appeared throughout the Southwest and Mexico as well as New Mexico, California, and Colorado, and has released released several recordings.

Thomas is survived by his wife, Jana, and four children. A memorial fund has been established for the Thomas family at Give Forward.