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Hundreds Pay Respect at Thomas Visitation

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PARKERSBURG 58-year-old Ed Thomas was shot and killed Wednesday at the Aplington-Parkersburg high school temporary weight room. 24 year-old Mark Becker is charged with his murder. Becker once played under Coach Thomas.

Sunday, a somber line of people stretched about six blocks through the streets of Parkersburg. Everyone just wanted a chance to say good-bye to Thomas.

"That's just a tribute to all the people he touched in his life," Virgil Goodrich, a friend of Thomas, said. People knew Thomas as a coach, a mentor and a teacher. "Ed was put on the earth for a reason. Because he did such a good job, he got done sooner than expected and the Lord wanted him back," Goodrich said.

Thomas' friends remember him as the modest guy who loved to golf at the Legend Trail Golf Club. One week ago, he played his final game there.

"The last round I played with him, he shot the best he's ever done out over par for the round. He was pretty happy with that," Goodrich said.

Greg Mason, a friend and golf course owner, said, "It was one of the few things he got to do as an individual. Everything else he did was typically geared around a team, but Coach got to do this on his own."

Everyone who plays at the course signs a book. On the day Thomas got shot, no one teed off.

Friends say Thomas earned the respect of so many people because he genuinely cared about others.

"Sometimes we all have a tendency to say, 'Hey, how are you doing?' And, then, just tune out. Coach was definitely one who wanted to know if you felt good or bad or whatever your day was like," Mason said.

Those who knew him best say Thomas would never want all this attention. Instead, he would want everyone to keep moving forward and simply treat others with the same dignity and respect he demonstrated throughout his life.

Funeral Services for Ed Thomas will begin at 10:30 Monday morning at the First Congregational Church in Parkersburg.

E-mail Mark Geary at or follow him on Twitter.

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