Richard “Lee” Thomas, 71, of Knoxville passed away on July 14, 2019 after an extended illness. Lee was born September 2, 1947 in Brownsville, TN. He is preceded in death by his parents, Wayne Thomas, and Ola Hunt Thomas. Lee is survived by his wife of 37 years, Shirley Hitchcox Thomas and his son, Tyler Hunt Thomas, of Knoxville; a twin brother, Robert Lyn Thomas and Cathy Thomas; and a sister Anne Aycock, and the late David Aycock; sisters and brothers-in-law Diane and Shannon Curtis; and Bill Hitchcox and Susie Himebaugh. He is survived by eight nieces and nephews.
Lee had an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee, Martin, and a Masters degree in Business from the University of Tennessee, Nashville.
Lee spent his career in various capacities serving the people of Tennessee who had mental challenges, most recently, as the Superintendent/Chief Executive Officer of Lakeshore Mental Health Facility in Knoxville for 22 years. He was dedicated to the patients/clients and staff of Lakeshore prior to its closure in 2012.
Lee’s hobbies included wood working, camping, and vintage cars, restoring more than one 1965 mustang. He loved to bring back the beauty of things that had seen better days.
Lee was known for his character and quick wit. Lee was a humble, quiet man, never bringing attention to himself but was always well spoken.
Lee was involved in the community as a graduate of Leadership Knoxville, and worked on several committees for United Way.
A memorial service will be held at Lakeshore Park Marble Hall (Chapel) Saturday, July 20, at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Parkinson’s Foundation or your favorite charity.