KINGWOOD — Clifford Eugene “Corky” Thomas, Jr. was dedicated to serving his community.
“He was a good family man, but when the department (Kingwood Volunteer Fire Department) needed his help, he would be there on a moment’s notice,” Chief Perry Barlow said.
Firefighter Tom Robinson agreed.
“He was always available to pick up the slack whenever needed,” Robinson said.
Thomas, who passed away Oct. 7, was a volunteer at the Kingwood Volunteer Fire Department for 51 years. During that time he served four years as assistant fire chief and as fire chief for 21 years.
“We’ve been blessed with people willing to serve that length of time,” Robinson said.
He said Thomas was one of three individuals who volunteered at the VFD in excess of 50 years. The other two are Bill Lindley and Stan Stalnaker.
“We taught fire training together,” Barlow said about Thomas. “It won’t be the same without his knowledge and skills. It’s a void we won’t be able to fill.”
In 2014, Thomas served as the Buckwheat Festival’s 67th King Fireman.
His father, Clifford “Buck” Thomas, was Buckwheat Festival Chairman in 1996 and served as King Fireman in 1991.
“We’re going to miss the phrases and sayings he came up with,” Robinson said. “He always kept us laughing.”
According to his obituary, Thomas served his country in the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam.
He was a WVU/RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) fire instructor and chief of the Preston County Hazardous Materials Response Team.
Thomas retired as a shift supervisor for Mon Power at the Albright Power Station and was a member of VFW Post 826 and the Kingwood Baptist Church.
He was born July 22, 1951, in Oakland, Md., a son of the late Clifford E. “Buck” Thomas, Sr. and June Gidley Thomas.
The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, please make a donation in memory of Corky to the Kingwood Volunteer Fire Department, 115 Brown Ave., Kingwood, WV 26537.
Browning Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of cremation services. A private family graveside service will be held. Online condolences can be made at www.browningfuneralhomewv.com.