Thomas' Wife: "I think he died having no regrets"

By Claire Kellett, Anchor/Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

PARKERSBURG - Ed Thomas was the head football coach at Aplington-Parkersburg high school for "about" as long as he was married to his wife Jan. Together, the two treasured 34 years of A-P football. Season 35 simply won't be the same."Because he's not here," says an emotional Jan Thomas. As a member of the Parkersburg volunteer ambulance service, Jan was unfortunately the first E-M-T to arrive at the school's weight room where her husband had been gunned down on the morning of June 24th, 2009. Jan had no idea she was there to help her husband. "Our police chief Chris Luhring stopped me at the door and told me not to go in right away, it was Ed." Ed was later pronounced dead at the hospital. This tragedy that took place on school grounds, Ed's "home away from home", has yet to fully hit his family. "I definitely have moments that are a lot more real than others. I don’t know when the full magnitude will set in,” says Aaron Thomas, Ed’s son. The healing process brought the entire Thomas family back to Parkersburg. Older son Aaron took over his dad's role as A-P athletic director. Todd helps coach the varsity football team. "At practice, being with the kids every day, it's easy to see my dad in all of them,” Todd explains. Ed's goal was to influence his athletes well beyond the football field. He used the sport as a teaching tool for life. Jan says, “He didn't just coach football. He tried to teach kids all the intangibles about integrity and character, what you need as you grow up." "He was very big on doing things right and doing the little things," Aaron adds. Perhaps more importantly, Ed was big on having faith. Todd says his father was very involved in his church, "He wasn't afraid to show his faith and what he stood for, and I think we can understand that now more than what we understood before." No one will likely ever understand why the town of Parkersburg lost an irreplaceable leader on and off the football field. Jan says, "The fact that he could touch so many people in small town Parkersburg, Iowa, that means he lived his life, and I think he died having no regrets.” Following Ed's example, his family has used faith to reach out to the Becker family, the family of Ed's alleged killer, a family who attends the same church. Jan talks about the Becker family, "They are good people. We still stay in touch. My heart breaks for them. We lost Ed, but they lost Ed and they lost their son in a lot of practical reasons or ways." Unedited Interview with Jan Thomas: Unedited Interview with Aaron Thomas: Unedited Interview with Todd Thomas:

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