Bill Thomas

Oct. 9, 2016

Bill Thomas, the founding principal of Crescenta Valley High School, died Oct. 9 in Palm Desert at the age of 91.

In 1960, Crescenta Valley High opened its doors to the first class of sophomores. Bill served as principal for 20 years. A narrative he wrote describing the early days of CV can be found at the Crescenta Valley High School website

He counted his years at Crescenta Valley as being rewarding and fulfilling. A newspaper article once referred to him as the “Chief Falcon” and that was probably a fitting title. He was rightfully proud of the students and staff and spoke frequently, fervently and enthusiastically of their achievements all of his days. He enjoyed keeping in touch with both students and faculty members and frequented gatherings in La Crescenta. He recently attended Athletic Hall of Fame celebrations, Small Change for Big Change events, and regular gatherings of retired teachers. A highlight of this summer was playing bridge with Jan McCreery, Shirley Nute and DeAnn Morris.

He leaves behind three children: Steve ’69, Nancy ’71, and Sue ’77, all CV grads. His wife Mona, also a great supporter of all things Falcon, passed away in 2011. Seven grandchildren, their spouses, and 13 great-grandchildren will fondly recall his influence in their lives.

Family life was full of CV athletic events, The Feast of Lights, concerts, plays, and parades. He treasured the overwhelming support that the local community provided for the high school, making it a truly big-time “small town” high school.

Yet he had an ability to separate work from family, not an easy thing to do in a small, tight-knit community. His wife Mona often joked that the only way she knew what was going on at CV was to hear about it from neighbors or read about it in the newspaper.

He was a steady presence in the lives of many, always in the background quietly cheering them on. He will be missed.

The family will celebrate his life in early November.

Donations in his memory may be made to Small Change for Big Change, a CVHS alumni non-profit which raises funds for educational excellence at the school,, or SCBC, c/o Alice Miyake, P.O. Box 3809, South Pasadena, CA 91031.

One Response to "Bill Thomas"

  1. Richard Adams   October 17, 2016 at 10:29 am

    We always called him “Father Thomas” to distinguish him from “Brother Thomas” the English teacher. And he truly was a father to my class, the class of 1963, that started with him in 1960. We looked up to him as being friendly, someone you could talk with, and yet able to give firm direction. It took a special man to get CVHS going, building one class a year, and making us all PROUD to be Falcons, when our older siblings had gone to Glendale or Hoover high schools.
    This is a loss in the family for a lot of us, even though we may never have seen him again after that day in June of 1963. We moved out into the world and spread our Falcon wings. And because of his leadership and the faculty excellence, I have been a high school teacher myself, for the last 47 years, in a rural Oregon high school with a student body smaller than our senior class of ’63.
    We will miss the IDEA of Father Thomas being at the helm. But he still directs us, even in our lives today, by what he gave us, and the example he set for integrity and excellence.
    Richard C. Adams, CVHS class of ’63

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