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Obituary: Henry Alexander Thomas

Henry A. Thomas, a retired attorney and court official, died of congestive heart failure Feb. 20 at Goodwin House. He was 72.

Mr. Thomas, son of the late Henry P. Thomas and Margaret Carr Robertson, was born on April 7, 1934, and grew up in Alexandria where he resided his entire life. He attended St. Stephen's Episcopal School and was a graduate of Christchurch School. He attended the University of Virginia and George Washington University. He was a 1959 graduate of the T. C. Williams School of Law of the University of Richmond.

Mr. Thomas practiced law, specializing in land use and estate administration matters, from 1959 until his retirement in 2002. For many years, he was Commissioner of Accounts for the Circuit Court in Alexandria. He was a founding partner of the law firm of Thomas, Kent, Haddock and Sewell. He served as Of Counsel for the firm of Hazel & Thomas, PC.

Mr. Thomas was a highly respected and active participant in the Alexandria community. Among his many accomplishments, he was most proud of his participation in representing the City of Alexandria in resolving a dispute over waterfront boundaries with the District of Columbia. The resulting agreement provided for the protection of open space on the Alexandria waterfront, along with low-scale development and public access to waterfront amenities.

During his lifetime, Mr. Thomas served on several boards and commissions. He served as Chairman of the Alexandria Board of Zoning Appeals, Chairman of the Board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Chairman of the Board of Governors of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and President of the University of Richmond Law Alumni Association. He also served on the boards of Alexandria National Bank which later became First American Bank and Providence Savings and Loan Association. He was Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Alexandria Hospital.

Mr. Thomas was active in Kiwanis Club and a member of the board of Senior Services of Alexandria. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Alexandria Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the University Club of Washington, D.C., Belle Haven Country Club and a lifelong member of Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill.

Mr. Thomas was an avid fisherman and enjoyed fly fishing in Montana with friends and family. For many years, he spent much of his leisure time on his farm in Rappahannock County. He was a founding member of the Beartooth Anglers Club in Livingston, Montana.

Survivors include his brother, William Griffith Thomas of Aylett, Va.; two sons, Robert Griffith Thomas of Chevy Chase, Md. and Henry Shaw Thomas of Denver, Colo.; his former wife, Roberta Shaw Thomas of Alexandria; and three grandchildren: William Seth McClelland, Carter Robinson Thomas and Mary Page Thomas. His daughter, Anne Alexander Thomas, died in 2000.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, March 5, at 10 a.m. at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, located on the grounds of the Virginia Theological Seminary at the corner of North Quaker Lane and Seminary Road in Alexandria. The family will receive friends in the Parish House following the service. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Hospice of Goodwin House, 4800 Fillmore Avenue, Alexandria,Virginia 22311 or to Immanuel Church Memorial Garden, c/o Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill 3606 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VAs 22304.