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Hector W. Thomas

Lawyer/Mayor of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Centurion, 1915–1935

Full Name Hector William Thomas

Born 19 September 1866 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 30 August 1935 in Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Edmund Wetmore and Frank Vincent Du Mond

Elected 5 June 1915 at age forty-eight

Archivist’s Note: Son-in-law of Russell Sturgis; uncle of Philip G. Bartlett

Century Memorial

The life career of Hector W. Thomas contrasted so strikingly at every point with that of his celebrated father that Hector Thomas’ acquaintances would sometimes start with surprise at discovering the relationship. Neither in achievement nor in personality did our Centurion of the second generation remind one in the least of the calm and imaginative Theodore Thomas, who wielded the baton in the old-time concerts at Castle Garden, in the music-centre at the Seventh Avenue entrance to the Park, in the all but legendary Steinway Hall symphony concerts or in the short-lived but well-remembered American opera. There are many of us to whom the picture is still distinct of the conductor who held his excellent orchestra in the hollow of his hand; who made it as proficient in the then newly-introduced Wagnerian opera as in his own beloved Beethoven and Mozart; who used to clap cordially on the shoulder, when he passed down during the intermission, the flutist or violinist that had performed his own part notably, and whose broad shoulders and the back of whose head were most expressive in their mute comment on groups in the audience that persisted in conversation when the conductor had rapped for his orchestra to be ready.

Hector Thomas was a lawyer; his tastes were political. During fifteen years he had an active hand in state and county politics and, during four years of the period from 1924 to 1934, served as Mayor of Croton. He was a good municipal executive, a steadfast enemy of political intrigue and a leader of the young voters, who followed him enthusiastically. Unlike his father, Mayor Thomas was an American by birth; but inherited allegiance to the ancestral Germany overclouded his relationships when war began in 1914. That may have been why Thomas came so seldom to the Century. But with him, as with the others who suffered in the social cleavage of that earlier war period, the mutual attitude was willingly forgotten when the war was over.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1936 Century Association Yearbook