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Rest In Peace Edward W. Thomas P.N.P.

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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.

As Renfield in “Dracula”, Ed explains to Van Helsing why he wants to eat spiders and flies.
Sierra Madre Playhouse – 1994

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.

  1. Ed’s day job was membership director at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, where I have known him for 25 years. Great guy. Gentle spirit. Honest and full of integrity. Horrible loss for our organization.

    When my kids were little, he hosted us at the Magic Castle. My “kids,” now in the their 20’s, still talk about how much fun we had there. Jon Coupal, President HJTA.

  2. John Suttie says:

    This is a very sad moment for me. Ed was my friend and associate. He was a man of gentle spirit and loving nature. He was the vanguard of our HJTA-LA office and will always be remembered as an especially giving person of great character.

    He will be greatly missed. Jfs

    • kris Vosburgh says:

      It was my pleasure to first meet Ed in 1973, when we both went through the Mel Blanc School of Voice and Commercial.
      It was later my privilege to work with him for 27 years.
      If I could only only use one word to descirbe my friend, it would be “kind.” It was his nature to be kind to eveyone.

  3. Lisa Vosburgh says:

    Rest in Peace Ed…You were always so kind!

  4. He was a great wise and serene man that support and inspired many others to live a life full of joy, kindness, abundance and free.

    I talked with him last Monday and he told me “I do not feel good. I have a cold”. When I offered him my help that I would be happy to bring him something if he would need, he just told me “Do not worry I have liquids and soups”. Then on Friday his brother Bob called me that he was in the St. Vincent Hospital with a heart attack.

    He made me feel like death would be just another live magic show. Now I m here, Now I am not!!!

    Ed’s final show? or to be continued… 🙂

    God has him on Its Glory.

  5. Ed was a good actor and magician, but more importantly, he was a good friend and a very good man. He will be missed by those fortunate enough to have known him, and I am certain he is performing magic tricks on the Grandest Stage there is right now. Good bye, Ed and say “Hello” to my late wife Shirley.

  6. Kelley Hogan says:

    Such a lovely and gracious gentleman. He will be so missed. I remember when he hosted an evening for us in the Magic Castle. It was a wonderful evening, made more special by his wry sense of humor. God Bless you Ed. Rest in Peace. Kelley

  7. Rich Dooley says:

    Ed was wonderful man and I have many great memories of him. From the time he gave me a private tour of the SAM Hall of Fame on my first visit to LA, to a visit to the Magic Castle, to lunch at a magic convention in Cincinnati, to working together for years on the SAM National Council, to the wonderful courtesy and charm he always extended to my wife Teresa and my 3 children. Rest in peace my friend.

  8. TONI M WILSON says:

    Mr Thomas conducted a fitting tribute of the Broken Wand Ceremony for my Father the Boston Man in 2007. My family and I are forever grateful. May you rest in peace Sir.

  9. Bill Gleason says:

    Not many of us can remember the first time you met someone who would become a brother to you, I do. That was July 2nd 2002; we were at The Society of American Magicians Centennial Convention in New York and I was taking a group of new friends down to Ground Zero. There was Edward W. Thomas in a long sleeve shirt and cowboy hat welcoming me as if we were long lost friends. That I think was the only time I saw him without a bow tie on. Ed treated everyone as an equal and with the utmost respect. He was the calming voice of reason and always had good advice. Ed’s experience in the magic community and by his abilities to look beyond the moment; and appreciate and preserves the past, has helped shape the present and set a path for a better future in magic.

    Ed Thomas wore many hats, as President of The Society of American Magicians he walked in the footsteps of the greats including Houdini. He served as 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. Ed also was a committee member on the Heroism and Patriot Committee. In addition to this Ed was a S.A.M. Life Member, 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. The one thing that Ed was always ready to do without hesitation, was to volunteer to help. No one ever had to ask him, Ed would quietly just setup and say I’m here what do you need done.

    Over the years Ed had been a great council to me, when others had said stop Ed said what your doing is the right thing and he told me of the stories of The Society of American Magicians. Why we have the Houdini fund and the Magic Endowment. How as magicians we have been saving lives and making a difference, just better dressed then most. Our magicians, Assemblies and programs have made the world a better place. Ed was working with me on The Hank Moorehouse Project; when we were talking about what we could do to honor Hank two fellow compeers walked up to us and asked me if I could teach them CPR. Ed turned to me and said that pretty much answers it, you can’t argue with fate and walked away. The project got approved by council and Mrs Moorehouse, and 2 advisors were assigned. Ed called it The Hank Moorehouse Project – The Greatest Magic Feat Ever – let them look it up and see that it is CPR. Maybe it will save someone’s life one day. Only a matter of days later Ed would leave us.

    Ed Thomas accomplished magic and actor who lead by example and had earned the respect and admiration of all who had known him. Among rescuers we call those we would entrust our lives with; brothers, it is earned, not given. For me Ed is my brother and I would go down the hall with him any day. In 2002 I said “Anyone who answers a call for help is a hero”, Ed would always step up anytime someone asked for help. He never looked for praise or reward. Ed did it because it was the right thing to do. Ed is one of my Heroes, with a big smile and a bow tie.
    Rest easy my friend we have it from here.

  10. Kim Hallinger says:

    Ed Thomas, my mentor, my friend
    I had met Ed several times at assembly 22 meetings while performing with PNP John Zweers. But it was not until 1991 when he started volunteering at the SAM Hall of Fame and Magic Museum that I really got to know him. He and I performed on the same bill in many shows at the Hall of Fame. We became good friends during this time. In January of 2004 John Zweers passed away. I had assisted him for 20 years. I know thought my life in magic was over, until one night while going to see a magic show with Ed. We stopped for dinner first. Ed asked me why I wasn’t going to assembly meetings. I explained I wasn’t a member and after all I was a lowly assistant. Ed pointed out that I did almost all the magic in Zweers act. He just did the talking. Ed then went on to say that I was a member of the SAM as of that moment and to get to the next meeting.I asked Ed when I signed up what I owed in dues for the year. He said I owed nothing for that year. I can only assume that he paid my assembly dues. for that first year.He and the other members encouraged me to to take the act I did with Zweers and make it my own. So I did. I now even have a live color changing bunny act which Ed helped me with. When I got a chance to perform at the Magic Castle Ed offered to assist me. He thanked me afterwards and exclaimed that now he could say he performed at the Magic Castle as well. Now all these years later I am assembly 22 president. It is all thanks to Ed. I knew I could always turn to him for help with my magic. He was a wonderful mentor and an even greater friend. He became my magic sugar daddy. I will miss him so very much. I plan every year on January 28 to don a bow tie and toast Ed with cognac. To Ed my best friend.

  11. Sally Shore says:

    So deeply saddened to just learn of Ed’s passing. He was a very dear, dear colleague that I’ve know since 1988. The kindest and most generous soul.

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