The Southern California classical music community has lost one of its important voices. Robert D. “Bob” Thomas died in the early morning of Thursday, May 3rd.
He reached countless readers as the long-time music critic and writer for the Pasadena Star-News and its sister publications in the Southern California News Group, as well as for his blog, the aptly named Class Act (published HERE and HERE). His words also appeared in many other local newspapers, magazines, and concert programs.
I am personally grateful to Bob and will say a prayer of thanksgiving that I had the chance to know him personally. He was an early proponent of All is Yar and my writing, mentioning my articles and linking to them from his own site. He was always kind, friendly, and encouraging to me, and I had the great pleasure to share a box at the Hollywood Bowl with him on many summer evenings and chat with him during intermission at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Alex Theatre in Glendale, or other local venues.
While he had been dealing with undisclosed health issues for some time, his passing still comes as a surprise as he had been actively writing and publishing articles and reviews within the past two weeks:
- LA Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra among the ensembles with a busy April on tap (April 16, 2018)
- REVIEW: Dudamel, Phil offer visual-laden “Das Lied von der Erd” [sic] (April 14, 2018)
Outside of classical music, he was very active with the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, serving in various capacities including Elder, Director of Administration, and a member of their music ministry. He sung as a soloist or in choirs for over 50 years. For 26 years, he was Director of Communications for the Southern California Golf Association.
According to his Facebook page, Bob was a graduate of Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, and later studied journalism at the University of Southern California and music at California State University, Los Angeles. He is survived by his wife, Nikki Thomas, children, and siblings.
“Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.”
Nice piece. Thanks for your memories of Bob.
A few times i wrote comments under his articles (in one of which he actually wrote about me mentioning me by my full name) signing them the same way i am signing here. After one such comment in March 2012 he emailed to me saying that he figured out who i was – you! That was really amusing to me and i replied to him telling him honestly that he was definitely wrong about that. Then i asked him for permission to tell you about his mistake and he did allow me to do this, but somehow i never felt like talking about it because i thought it could be too embarrassing for him. Anyway, he seemed to be a nice and decent man, and he will undoubtedly be missed by many of us.