Robert L. Thomas

1933-2017Thomas, Robert oklahoman

A memorial service will be held for Robert Lee Thomas (Bob) at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (325 E. 1st Street in Edmond, Oklahoma) on Monday, November 13th, at 11:00 a.m.

Bob died November 7th. He was born in July, 1933, in Valley Center, Kansas to John Lafayette and Leta Mae (Arnhart) Thomas. He had an older sister, Donna Mae. He graduated from Ponca City High School where he lettered in tennis. He attended the University of Oklahoma from September, 1950 until graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture (June, 1956). While at OU, he studied under renowned architect Bruce Goff and was active in the ROTC. Bob met Dolores M. Kelly while attending OU and on August 28th, 1954, they were married in Yukon, OK. In 1957, he was sent on active duty with the army engineers to Fort Belfour, Virginia. He served honorably until discharge in 1968 with the rank of Major. Bob was employed by the architecture firm Bailey, Bozalis, Dickinson and Roloff following graduation from OU. He then became Partner at Nusbaum + Thomas Architects which moved to Edmond, OK in 1967. The company designed the original Edmond Library, many schools, churches and numerous other buildings in Oklahoma and Texas. Then in 1974 the firm became McCaleb, Nusbaum, Thomas. They designed many Indian schools, the Ada Indian Hospital and expanded into New Mexico. In 1990, MNT designed the Farm Credit Bank in Wichita, Kansas. In 1993, the firm became Robert Thomas, Architects. In 1996, Bob went to work for the State of Oklahoma as Administrator of Construction & Properties. In 1998, he became the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society where he oversaw construction of the Oklahoma History Center. After retiring in 2011, he spent his time as an avid reader, coin collector and member of the ROMEO’s lunch group.

Bob enjoyed playing tennis multiple times a week with great friends and competed regularly with success. He was active in the civic community of Edmond, a member of many organizations and received many career honors. He was a member of the American Institute of Architects (Emeritus), Jaycees and Chamber of Commerce. He also served as the president of Rotary Club, was a Paul Harris Fellow and a lifetime member of the OU Alumni Association.

Bob brought his love of creativity and good design into the home where he raised four children with his wife Dolores. They loved him for his endless curiosity and for challenging them to think in original ways.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents and nephew James Thorpe. Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Dolores; sister, Donna Thorpe; sister-in-laws Jane Horne and Nancy Shehan and husband Pat; children: Catherine Oster and husband Joe, Janet Caffey, Jennifer Creech and husband Randy, and Ellen Wells and husband Chris; along with his grandchildren: Rachel Griffith and husband Brandon, Daniel Caffey, Zach Oster, Katelyn Creech, Katie Oster, Colin Creech, Camden Creech, Maddie Wells and Max Wells; his great-grandchildren: Arden, Blaine and Grey Griffith; his nieces and nephews: Bill Thorpe, Greg, Joe, Angie (Lawson) and Mike Shehan, Debbie (Helms), Susan and Mark Mann, Judy (Monthaven) and Ann (Fiege) Horne.

Memorials may be made in his name to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church or to the charity of your choice. To share a memory or condolence, please visit


  1. I was saddened to hear of Bob’s passing. Our engineering firm of Schuelein and Halpain Engr. worked with him on several projects over the years, including the Farm Credit Bank mentioned in the Obituary. In 1970, he sponsored me for membership in the Pyramid Club of which I am still an active member. I had lost contact with him since he left the DCS C&P.

    Bill F. Halpain, PE

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