Cover photo for Irving Wenner Thomas's Obituary
Irving Wenner Thomas Profile Photo
1934 Irving 2023

Irving Wenner Thomas

September 11, 1934 — May 12, 2023

Chapel Hill


Friends of IRVING WENNER THOMAS are invited to gather at the Tabard Inn, 1729 N St.  N.W., Washington DC this Saturday, September 30 at noon to celebrate his life and what would have been Irv's 89th birthday. The Tabard Inn was a favorite haunt of him and his wife of 40 years, Kathleen Dooley, a well-respected civil right, and child advocacy attorney. When first married they lived in the Kalorama Triangle section of D.C., and regularly ate in the Tabard patio. Later, they moved to McLean, VA where they resided for over 30 years with their son, Patrick Thomas. Recently they had retired to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  

Irv's is a member of the founding families of Frederick, MD, immigrating from Schiffersat in southern Germany in the 1700's. Rocky Springs Farm was his childhood home until the US government took a large portion of it to form Fort Detrick in World War II.  After graduating from Frederick High School, where he played football, was in the band and was his class representative at Boy's State, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he played in the tuba in the Army band stationed in Okinawa. 

 He married Ann Spies and returned to the University of Maryland. When he graduated, he joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture and remained for 50 years. Irv was a charter member of the Senior Executive Service and rose to be the Deputy Administrator for Management of the U.S, Agricultural Marketing Service, and then later the Associate Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. 

His marriage to Ann Spies ended in divorce. It produced two children, Christine Thomas of St. Croix, and Dr. Matthew Thomas of Daytona Beach, and two grandchildren, William Thomas and Rebecca Thomas of Umea, Sweden. 

As the son of Hiram Irving Thomas and Mildred Lee Wenner, whose father was the railroad station master at Point of Rocks, Maryland, Irv learned to swim in the nearby Potomac River. The Thomas family was instrumental in the development of Frederick. His father was the son of Hiram Grove Thomas and Sarah Kefauver who grew up in the well-known Middletown landmark, of Grey Haven house built by her father, Lewis Kefauver a major developer of Frederick County. 

Irv loved literature, one of his favorite story tellers was Loren Eisley. He and his wife, Kathleen, identified with the boy in the STAR THROWER. In that tale, a young boy is walking alone on the shore, a storm comes up and star fish are washed up everywhere along the sand. The little boys begins throwing them back in the ocean so they will not die.  An old man yells out at him, asking him what he is doing. The child answers that he is returning them to the sea so that can live. The older man tells him that his attempts are useless, as he cannot save them all.  He questioned the boy, as to what does it matter. The boy thought for a while, and then answered that it matters to this one, as he flung it back in the sea.  

Working in a town where many come to save the world, Irv was a man who also looked to the individual to help, mentor, and do whatever he could to make an individual have a better life, He will be long remembered by all whose lives in touched and for the service he gave his country. Irv reached his goal of being a Star Thrower. He will deeply be missed.  

The family request that in lieu of flowers a donation to one of his following favorite charities or to your favorite be made in his memory.

First Step Daytona Beach Florida
 (386) 361-3800

GBS/CIDP International Foundation
(866) 224-3301

Heritage Frederick
(301) 663- 224-3301

Loyola Law Social Justice Clinic
(213) 736-8100

Rough Start --- Animal Rescue
(763) 355-3981

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 30, 2023

12:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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