Editor’s note: From The LeGrande Observer, published June 1st.
Jack Ward Thomas spoke with a slow Texas drawl but had a lightning quick mind that propelled him to national heights.
The wildlife biologist’s rapid-fire mind also propelled him to literary success. Thomas wrote, co-wrote and edited more than 250 books, book chapters and professional papers about wildlife and ecosystem management.
Thomas’ books included his 2015 autobiography, “Forks in the Trail,” the story of a remarkable life, a life that sadly ended late last week.
The former La Grande resident died May 26 at his home in Florence, Montana, after a 2-1/2-year battle with cancer. Thomas, 81, had lived in Montana since 1997. He earlier resided in La Grande for 21 years before President Bill Clinton appointed him chief of the U.S. Forest Service in late 1993.