Rest In Peace Edward W. Thomas P.N.P.
On September 1, 1949, Edward W. Thomas was given the gift of life. On January 28, 2017 he had to give it back. Ed was a Past National President of The Society of American Magicians, but he also wore many other hats by holding offices, both local and national. He was a S.A.M. Life Member, Chairman of the S.A.M Magic Endowment Fund, President of the Magic Hall of Fame, a member and an Officer of Assembly 22 in Los Angeles as well as Editor of the Assembly Newsletter. In addition to this Ed was also a member of the Academy of Magical Arts at The Magic Castle, a Magic Circle member who had achieved the rank of A.I.M.C. with a Silver Star and was both a magician and an actor. Ed died from a heart attack while in the hospital being treated for influenza.
Ed Thomas was inaugurated as President of The Society of American Magicians at the Centennial Convention in New York in 2002 but his history as a magician began many years earlier. At ten, he got his first magic set and by the fifth grade he was performing for the public. He and a friend (who served as his “assistant”) walked around the neighborhood, knocking on doors to announce that they would be doing a magic show that afternoon. This led to magic performances at family gatherings, birthday parties and at talent shows. While in High School, his parents made his magic books and props “disappear” until he was in Graduate School.
In addition to being a magician, Ed was also an actor with a wide range. He would tackle a tragic role in one production and seamlessly move on to comedy in the next. In 1982, Thomas was hired as an actor by the Mountaineer Players Melodrama Company in Colorado and upon returning to Los Angeles, he would work for The Glendale Center Theater, The Sierra Madre Playhouse, The Granada Theater and many other Community Theaters across southern California.
Of course, Ed’s first and lasting theatrical love was The Art of Magic. His dedication to The Society of American Magicians was unparalleled and a week before his passing he was in Omaha for what would be his last National Council Meeting. At S.A.M. meetings he was the man that kept his head when others got overly excited. He would focus the group with his insights and his counsel. All the S.A.M. National Presidents that followed Ed owe him a debt of gratitude as he was the one that taught them about the traditions and customs of The Society.
In the July 2002 issue of M-U-M Magazine John U. Zweers wrote; “If ever a man was qualified by personal characteristics, hard-won experience and by abilities to lead us into the second century of The Society of American Magician’s existence, this is the one. He appreciates and preserves the past, has helped build the present and possesses the vision and the moderation to provide a safe and harmonious future.” This exemplified Ed Thomas in 2002 and still exemplified him at last weeks National Council Meeting, in 2017.
Rest in Peace Ed, the rest of us will try to follow your lead.