Jimmy Thomas


MAYFIELD -- Jimmy L. Thomas of Eden, New York, 76, died May 1, 2018, in Hospice Buffalo following a stroke.

Born in Mayfield, Kentucky, to Alben and Emmalaura Thomas, he is survived by his cherished wife, Kristin Hagelin Kent; dear sons, Nelson of Rochester, New York, and Carter of Ithaca, New York; grandchildren, Andrew and Anna Thomas; and by beloved family friend, Dr. Mary Gail Mercurio of Rochester; siblings, John (Darlene) of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Mary (Rick) Kotter of Paducah, Kentucky, and Martha Thomas of Louisville, Kentucky; and many bereaved in-laws, nieces and nephews.

Mr. Thomas graduated in 1963 from the University of Kentucky and received an MBA degree in finance in 1964 from the Columbia University School of Business, where he was a Samuel Bronfman Fellow. He began his career as a financial analyst at Ford Motor Company in Detroit and then worked at the Joel Dean consulting firm and Trans World Airlines, both in New York City. In 1973 he moved to Gannett Co. Inc. (now TEGNA) in Rochester, New York, where he spent the next 25 years. He retired in 1998 as Senior Vice President and Treasurer and a member of the executive management committee. He was responsible for all company financings and investment management for the company, its pension plans and employee benefit plans. He created a unique, and highly successful, investment management program for the pension plans. He also handled cash management, all investment banking relationships, all major purchasing for the company and its 120 subsidiaries, and managed the company's fleet of airplanes. His special assignments for Gannett included work on acquisitions of newspapers and broadcast stations during a time of great company growth. He leased and outfitted the office towers for Gannett and USA Today in Arlington, Virginia, when the company moved there in 1985. A decade later he handled the land acquisition and construction of new corporate and USA Today office towers in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

Mr. Thomas served on many boards, including Donahue Charlevoix Paper Co. of Quebec, Tremont Advisors of Rye, New York (a hedge fund consulting firm), and several hospital boards in Rochester and Northern Virginia. He served as a finance officer in the Army National Guard during the Vietnam era. He was a member of the Honorary Order of Kentucky Colonels.

His charitable gifts were many and varied, including The Jimmy L. Thomas scholarship at Columbia University School of Business, scholarships for graduating students at Mayfield High School and Graves County, and the Community Benevolent Fund at The First Christian Church in Mayfield.

A memorial service will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at the First Christian Church of Mayfield. Interment will follow in Mayfield.

Friends are asked to meet at the church at 9:30 a.m. Dr. Bruce Dobyns will officiate.

A visitation will be held after the service at the Mayfield-Graves Country Club.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Benevolent Fund, P.O. Box 799, Mayfield, Kentucky 42066.

Byrn Funeral Home in Mayfield is in charge of local arrangements.

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